Former Nowra woman Susan Buzzi has described living through Hurricane Dorian as it decimated the Bahamas.
Ms Buzzi, nee Hickey, a former well-known Shoalhaven swim star, sister of well-known former local footballer Steve Hickey and the daughter of local league official Greg Hickey, now lives in Freeport on the main island of Grand Bahama.
Speaking with ABC, Ms Buzzi described how the ocean "literally swallowed the island" and consumed many homes.
She took to Facebook on Saturday saying her family and that of Wollongong woman Kim Skene were safe.
"First time getting WiFi.... yes we are safe," Mrs Buzzi said.
"Thanking God for life!"
Dorian parked itself almost on top of their community for the best part of a day and a half, unleashing blinding rain, winds of up to 300 kilometres an hour and a storm surge thought to be between five and seven metres high.
"It was really scary and it just did not stop," she said.
"It kept going and going. We were really worried."
They have been through many big storms before, but nothing could have prepared them for the terrifying wind gusts and huge storm surge of the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane recorded.
"We are so lucky. We live on the south side and it was one of the only bits that didn't flood," Ms Buzzi said.
"It's just horrifying to look at what's happened.
"No-one could go out during the storm. It was just way too strong."
"Quite a lot of people have died. The level of the water was just insane."
Thousands of people have fled the devastation in the Bahamas as conditions in the Caribbean country grew increasingly desperate nearly a week after Hurricane Dorian made landfall, reducing many homes to rubble and knocking out water and power.
The death toll of 43 is likely to rise higher as the number of missing among the archipelago nation's 400,000 residents becomes clear.
Head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mark Green has compared the damage from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas to that of a nuclear bomb.
Two people died in North Carolina, while Dorian has also hammered the Canadian maritime province Nova Scotia.
Although their houses survived, the storm has come at a personal cost for Ms Buzzi.
She runs a gymnastics academy, which was inundated, with the gym and all the equipment a write-off.
The Grand Bahama Gymnastics Academy has more than 150 gymnasts who train at the facility, with 80 per cent of its equipment four feet under salt water after Dorian.
The entire sprung floor was ruined, bars, trampoline, crash mats, vault and beams all submerged in the salt water. The gym also received structural damage due to flooding.