Man lives through Ike stuck on pier

October 1, 2008 5:46:39 PM PDT
It was one of the enduring memories of Hurricane Ike. A man, his fiancée and a friend were stuck in the second floor doorway of the Galveston Fishing Pier with no way out. The trio was stuck 40 feet above the waves.We all remember where we were that night, but Michael Campbell will likely never forget.

"If I had to do it all over again, I would stay here," said Campbell.

He was 100 feet offshore inside a bait shop, suspended on a concrete pier with his fiancé and no way out.

"There wasn't a whole lot of talking, we just held each other," said Campbell. "I comforted her the best I could and assured her everything would be alright."

Back at that pier and looking at what's left, Campbell still can't believe it.

"I am not embarrassed," he said. "I am not proud, I am glad to be alive."

Ike was tearing apart the Galveston Fishing Pier's concrete blocks Friday afternoon. The worst of the storm was still hours away, but they'd made the decision to stay there that night.

"This was a whole lot safer than a lot of other places, we felt safer there," he said.

That feeling of safety changed as the waves got higher, eventually crashing above the second floor windows.

"To give you an idea, there's dead fish on the roof," Campbell told us.

Later from inside, they could hear the building disintegrating.

"The sound of waves crashing against you nonstop, for almost six hours straight," he recalled. "You could feel the whole building would raise, sometimes as much as 6 inches. The couches everything would bounce up off the floor."

Once the sun came up and Campbell could look out the doorway, he realized how bad it was.

The first floor was a restaurant and bait shop. It was all gone. The concrete pier was a giant's game of pickup sticks. And while the storm tore apart the pier, Michael and Rebecca are still planning on getting engaged.

"[The relationship is] a whole lot stronger now, going through something like that," he admitted.

They have no wedding date. Their home was damaged as well in the storm. As for that third guy on the pier with them, he apparently slept through most of it. Michael told us the not so gentle rolling of the entire building put him to sleep.

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