As Puerto Rico struggles to recover from Hurricane Maria, Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea found a way to rescue his mother and grandmother from the U.S. territory: the team plane.
Courtesy of Mavs owner Mark Cuban, the Puerto Rican player flew to his native land on the plane to rescue his family and deliver supplies, and he plans to return Tuesday night, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported. Cuban later retweeted a Facebook post showing the team’s plane being loaded up Monday with supplies. Barea first appears just before the eight-minute mark.
The news comes two days after Barea finally was able to get in touch with his loved ones in the Puerto Rico, which largely remains without power, water and reliable communication methods since the Hurricane made landfall last week.
“They’re okay,” Barea, 33, told Dallas Morning News on Monday. “But it’s still rough there.”
Barea has been very active on social media raising awareness about the dire state of the U.S. territory, even starting a crowdfunding campaign with his wife, former Miss Universe Puerto Rico Viviana Ortiz, to raise money to ship supplies to those in need.
“Being far from our families during this historic situation in Puerto Rico was one of the worst experiences of our lives,” the couple wrote on YouCaring.com, a site on which, as of Tuesday, they’d raised nearly $100,000. “Growing up and living in an island in the Caribbean, we are used to confronting hurricanes, but we’ve never experienced such a devastating one as Maria.”
Conditions in Puerto Rico remained dire Tuesday, as San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz declared to CNN, the territory was dealing with “a humanitarian crisis.”
“We are finding dialysis patients that haven’t been able to contact their providers, so we are having to transport them in near-death conditions,” Yulin Cruz said. “We are finding people whose oxygen tanks are running out, because … small generators now don’t have any diesel.”
On Tuesday, President Trump declared, “We’re doing a great job” with recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
“Everybody has said it’s amazing the job we have done in Puerto Rico,” he continued, noting he plans to travel to the territory next Tuesday. “This was a place that was destroyed. I think we’ve done a very good job.”