Resort explosion ruins Canadian couple's destination wedding
Published Wednesday, August 27, 2014 8:22AM EDT
A Canadian couple’s dream destination wedding in the Dominican Republic turned into a nightmare situation following an explosion at their resort.
And even months after the blast tore through the Dreams Punta Cana, the wedding guests say they're not satisfied with the resort's response to the incident or its explanation as to what was behind the explosion.
"When you see the big shards of glass at our table, you realize how serious an incident this was and how fortunate we are that we weren't more seriously injured," wedding guest John Yannitsos told CTV Calgary.
An explosion rocked the five-star resort on May 10 -- a day after a Calgary couple celebrated their wedding with about 70 guests.
The bride's father Brad Laforge said while the wedding day was perfect, things took a frightening turn the following night.
"I heard the explosion, felt a shockwave and saw an orange glow and heat coming at us," Laforge recalled.
Photos from the scene of the explosion show the ceiling completely collapsed inside a restaurant, debris, including shattered glass, covering the tables and a raging fire just outside the establishment.
The group said they were left to try to locate their loved ones on their own.
"There was no presence of management or security to support us," Yannitsos said.
The group escaped the blast with cuts and bruises and they were treated by a doctor in their party.
The local fire department said in a statement that the accident was the result of high winds which caused the ceiling inside one of the resort's restaurants to collapse. It said the explosion was caused by "a derivative of petroleum or other chemical."
The fire department said one person suffered burns that were caused by steam.
Officials inspected the resort and on May 13 concluded that: "the hotel complies with fire safety standards of the Dominican Republic, and excluding the affected are, they can continue their normal operations.”
But the group's lawyer said the guests are not satisfied with the resort's response to the explosion and are reviewing their legal options.
Air Canada Vacations and West Jet Vacations declined to comment on the matter and Dreams Punta Cana has yet to respond to CTV Calgary.
Meanwhile, months after the explosion, some wedding guests continue to attend physiotherapy for their injuries and others are receiving counselling.
"It was just handled so poorly," Laforge said. "It was horrible and continues to be."
With a report from CTV Calgary's Rylee Carlson