GREAT NEWS and update at 2:30 PM on Friday: Kurt's mother, Donna, tells me someone, through a friend of a friend, made the trip across the island and found Kurt in the house with the family he was staying with, all alive. Then after spending the night (she was afraid of looters), she went back across island to the only spot with intermittent cell coverage and let Donna know. They apparently have two big dogs to protect them from looters roaming the streets. They are hunkering down now for next storm. CBC interviewed Donna, apparently after reading this piece. Thank you to everyone who made suggestions on how to make contact with Kurt and for all your good wishes- Linda
Has anyone seen Kurt?
He hasn't been heard from for four days — not since Hurricane Irma decimated the Carribean Island of St. Martin on Wednesday evening. I know we are one of many families around the world, worrying about loved ones today.
The Canadian government isn't going in to rescue people, but the Dutch are on the ground, so we hope we will hear from him soon. We hope to hear he's totally okay and has just survived the terrifying ordeal and is completely involved at this moment in helping those around him.
But it's hard not to know anything. Really hard.
He scraped his pennies for this trip
Kurt Seelig is my 17-year-old nephew. He lives with his mother in Langley, B.C.
He graduated early from high school, scraped his pennies from a part-time job at McDonald's, and with a bit of extra help from mom, flew off to a tropical paradise to celebrate the end of Grade 12 on a high note. He finished on the honour roll.
Kurt left for St. Martin on July 4 with a return ticket for Sept. 7.
Donna Seelig, his mom, last spoke with him on Sept. 4, two days before the Category 5 storm ravaged St. Martin. He couldn’t get a flight back before the storm, he told her. He had tried to no avail.
Kurt told his mother not to worry — they had bought tons of provisions and were in a cement and metal building. American Airlines had changed his flight for the following day, and once the storm was over, he said he would get to the airport and come home. That was before the island's famous airport sustained heavy damage in the storm.
Why won't the government help?
That's the last we heard from Kurt. As each day passes, the whole family is growing increasingly worried. But, of course, it's his mother who is suffering the most and desperate to hear from him. Kurt's father, a former employee of the B.C. government's transportation ministry, passed away in 2014.
Donna filled out federal government forms two days ago to register the fact that Kurt is a Canadian in St. Martin. She says she actually heard back from the Embassy of Canada, Consular Service relatively fast.
The government representative who spoke to her said they know he is there and that they would look for him and find him to make sure he was okay, then let her know as soon as possible. She hasn't heard another word, though.
She can’t understand why the Canadian government isn’t helping her more. "He’s a Canadian and he’s only 17. At this point I don’t even know if he is alive," she says.
In a statement to CBC, Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Brianne Maxwell did not address whether Canada had plans to go get citizens who are trapped, saying instead that the government is providing consular assistance to those who need it, CBC reported.
She added that Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to the regions in the path of Hurricane Irma, but those who do go there should be prepared, have a plan and follow the advice of local authorities.
If anyone sees Kurt, could you tell him we love him and ask him to call home?