The Latest: Ferry brings storm evacuees to Bahamas capital
TORONTO (AP) — The Latest on Post-Tropical Cyclone Dorian (all times local):
About 250 people who lost their homes when Hurricane Dorian hit the northern Bahamas have arrived in the Bahamian capital after a 13-hour trip on a government-chartered ferry.
Passengers on the "Sea Wind" ferry arrived in Nassau on Saturday, joining hundreds of other people from Abaco and Grand Bahama islands who were desperate to escape harsh conditions there.
Carlen Merizier, 23, says she and her two-year-old son are lucky to be alive. She says "a lot of people died" and that she started praying when her home collapsed in the hurricane.
The hurricane death toll in the Bahamas is at least 43 and officials say it is likely to increase.
Emergency officials in the Bahamas say they have had to "clamp down" on aircraft demanding payment for evacuating displaced people from areas devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
The National Emergency Management Agency says aviation authorities are aware of reports of "commercial activity" and will revoke flight permission for any aircraft charging fees.
The agency said in a statement Sunday that no flights are permitted to bill for evacuations and that consumer protection officials are investigating "incidences of price gouging."
Civil aviation authorities also say they are restricting air space over the devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama islands to prevent accidents and ensure only approved aircraft that are providing aid can fly there.
Officials have already authorized 200 private planes in the area and say "saturated airspace was creating a volatile situation."
The storm that has already walloped the Virgin Islands, Bahamas and North Carolina is now bringing hurricane-force winds to far-eastern Canada.
Dorian has knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people, toppled a huge construction crane and ripped roofs off apartments in the city of Halifax.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the post-tropical cyclone was centered about 55 miles (90 kilometers) east-northeast of Anticosti Island Sunday morning and had top sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph). It was heading to the north-northwest, roughly up the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Meanwhile, authorities in the Bahamas were scrambling to find shelter for tens of thousands left homeless by a storm that struck with Category 5 force.
The storm is blamed for at least 49 deaths.