Spanish rugby players helped a local resort in Fiji fight off a massive cyclone’s devastating ocean swells on Saturday.
The Spanish men’s rugby sevens team was staying at the Uprising Resort when Tropical Cyclone Winston, packing winds of 186 miles per hour, made landfall, knocking out power and communications throughout the Pacific island nation.
“They dropped everything, got out there and put their boots down and helped with the sandbagging,” the resort’s General Manager, James Pridgeon, told NBC News. “Just constantly keeping the sandbags back up, they didn’t put their safety first, they kept us safe instead.”
The Spanish players are in Fiji for a four-week training camp as they attempt to qualify for the World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong.
The team placed sandbags all along the shore, preventing large ocean swell from completely flooding the small beach front resort.
“We will be forever grateful and hold a special place in our hearts for these guys,” said a post on the hotel’s Facebook page.
All beach-front rooms were evacuated before the storm hit. All hotel guests are safe and expected to check in with their loved ones in the morning.
But an initial walk around the resort already revealed significant damage on the property. Trees are down and sand has washed into rooms.
Pridgeon estimates it will take him over a week to clean up the place. “The resort is a complete mess, but again we weren’t in the eye, so it will be worst in other parts of the island.”