By Monica Gibson

AN East Renfrewshire family which survived a holiday from hell as a massive hurricane hit the Caribbean have told how they are just glad to be alive.

Martin McCreadie, his wife Caroline and their young daughter Isla were enjoying a break on the paradise island of Cayo Coco, in Cuba, when the natural disaster struck.

The trio were evacuated to Varadero on a nine hour bus journey with a view to returning once the hurricane had passed.

Irma was classed as a category five hurricane, the highest possible level, and delivered wind speeds of 180mph.

She has caused widespread destruction across the Caribbean, reducing buildings to rubble and leaving dozens of people dead.

Martin and his family resorted to sleeping in bathrooms and building forts after becoming stranded amid the destruction of Hurricane Irma, in what he describes as the worst experience of his life.

He also provided updates on his Facebook page, pleading with travel agents Thomas Cook to ensure their safety.

Martin, who works as a structural engineer, also said he was not convinced by assurances that the holiday operator only uses 'hurricane-proof' hotels.

As the storm loomed closer, Martin informed his loved ones via social media that the latest instruction from Thomas Cook is that was to stay in their room, ride out the hurricane and await further direction if required.

After a nervous night without wifi and intermittent phone signal, Martin was finally able to let people know he was okay.

He said: “It was one of, if not the worst, experience of our lives and we are so glad we made it out alive.

“The hurricane ripped through the hotel causing a lot of damage and flooding. We have been in lock down since it headed off to Florida and all communications have been wiped out.

“There are so many issues to take up with Thomas Cook, however, now is not the time, we are just happy to have survived this. Thanks to everyone for their support and good wishes.

“We have been told that Varadero Airport is closed until Tuesday for inspection so we have no idea when we will get flown home.”

Martin also told how the island resort where the family, from Giffnock, had originally stayed was “effectively levelled”, with the causeway left badly damaged.

Bosses at Thomas Cook said the company had taken action to move holidaymakers in Cuba to safety.

In a statement on its website, the tour operator added: “A damage assessment is currently underway in Varadero, and the airport is currently closed until Tuesday at the earliest and Havana Airport until late on Monday at the earliest.

“Once we have confirmation on the status of the airport we will begin our evacuation plan, which will commence with three flights with delayed departures due to the storms that should have departed Varadero on Friday, September 8, and Cayo Coco on Saturday September 9, and Sunday, September 10.”