Hurricane Maria leaves at least 15 dead as navy searches for boat with 2 adults, 2 children aboard

More than 15 people are dead and 20 remain missing after Hurricane Maria's direct hit on Dominica, the prime minister has said.

Roosevelt Skerrit cried as he spoke to a reporter on the nearby island of Antigua.

He said more than 15 people died because of the storm and that it was a miracle that the death toll was not in the hundreds.

The centre of the Category 4 storm hit Dominica with massive force late Monday night and early Tuesday, destroying hundreds of homes and cutting off the mountainous island's communication systems and shutting its airport.

Mr Skerrit said Dominica "is going to need all the help the world has to offer".

A woman covers herself with a plastic bag as she makes her way to work as Hurricane Maria approaches the coast of Bavaro, Dominican Republic, today.

Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard, US Navy and the British Royal Navy are searching for a boat that went missing off Puerto Rico during the hurricane, with two adults and two children aboard.

The coastguard in Miami said the Ferrel sent a distress call on Wednesday saying it was disabled and adrift in seas with 20ft waves and 100mph winds.

Communications were lost with the boat near Vieques, Puerto Rico.

The search includes an HC-130 plane, a fast response cutter, the USS Kearsage amphibious assault ship and navy helicopters.


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