Five members of a wedding party from Bangor who are stranded on St. Martin in the wake of Hurricane Irma are one step closer to coming home.

But the fate of those remaining was still up in the air Friday night with a second hurricane expected to hit over the weekend.

Brittany LeVasseur, 30, went to the Caribbean island on Sept. 1 along with 18 other people for a wedding, said her mother, Suzanne LeVasseur. But only days after Sunday’s ceremony, the wedding party found itself in the cross-hairs of the deadly Category 5 hurricane, which decimated the island.

“Complete devastation,” said Suzanne LeVasseur, who spoke to her daughter Friday night. “The venue where the wedding was – that place is gone. She said she has never seen anything like it.”

On Friday, Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine, R-2nd District, said he had joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers that includes Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, D-1st District, in urging the U.S. State and Defense Departments to immediately launch rescue efforts for nearly 6,000 people stranded in the Caribbean islands before Hurricane Jose hits over the weekend.

LeVasseur said a Marine Corps cargo plane dropped off supplies on St. Martin on Friday, and evacuated about a dozen elderly people.

She said the owner of the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa, the wedding venue destroyed in the storm, chartered a private plane to evacuate 69 additional people. The owner asked the Red Cross to choose who could go.

LeVasseur said that five women from the wedding party were selected to leave, including the bride, Amanda Peterson. But Peterson gave up her seat so that Brittany LeVasseur could home so she could get back to her 7-year-old son, Dylan, whose father died in a car crash two years ago.

“Amanda is the most amazing and selfless woman,” Suzanne LeVasseur said.

Being away from Dylan has been difficult for her daughter, LeVasseur said, because she hasn’t been unable to video chat with Dylan as much as she would like.

“Now that she knows she’s on a flight tomorrow she’s much better. Her spirits are lifted,” Suzanne LeVasseur said.

She said her daughter, who works at High Tide restaurant in Brewer and at a property management firm, is expected to leave St. Martin on Saturday and will stay at an airport hotel in Punta Cana in the Domincan Republic until Monday, when she will board a flight for Bangor.

LeVasseur doesn’t know when the rest of the wedding party will be able to leave, but she vowed to do whatever she can to help them.

“I’m very mission-oriented and my mission is to get her home safe,” she said. “I will still work diligently to get those other kids home.

“I couldn’t ask for a stronger group of people for my daughter to be stranded with. They’re an amazing group.”

LeVasseur, a real estate agent, works above Poliquin’s office in Bangor and said he has been working hard to get them all home.

“He’s been probably our biggest advocate,” she said. “Bruce took this on as a personal mission and it’s really appreciated.”

Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at:

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