LONGWOOD, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - As the winds grew and the storm intensified, Florida couple John and Tichka Slack quickly began to fear for their second home in Abaco Island, and for their own lives.
"And it just went on, and on, and on," John said.
John began doing what he did his whole career: Documenting the storm through pictures and video.
Slack is the photographer who took the iconic photo of Apollo 11 taking off in 1969. However, nothing in his long career prepared him for Hurricane Dorian.
The couple has a home on the island, but took cover with friends, nine people total, at a house they thought may weather the storm better. It did, for a while at least.
As Dorian moved further into the island and intensified, the home that had passed so many hurricane tests started to fail. Even the hurricane-proof glass was no match for Dorian's Category 5 winds, and one of the living room windows shattered.
"Once that window blew out, there was literally nothing that could be done," John said.
The Slacks said the water in the home quickly began rising as the marina the house sits on splashed through the open window.
John's video from those moments shows the intense winds and rain making it nearly impossible to see.
"So I threw the dogs on a king bed, which was floating in the water. Everything was floating. I mean everyone is just in shock," said Tichka.
Eventually, the couple said the rain and wind started to slow.
After hunkering through decades of hurricanes on the island, the Slacks knew the eye of the storm was approaching.
In a move they say they regret in hindsight, the Slacks tried to help five other people from the house get to a safer location.
They attempted to drive their SUV to another house, but only got a short distance before it got stuck deep in the mud.
"Hoped he'd [the driver] buried it so deep in the mud we wouldn't start flipping over," John said.
The vehicle didn't flip, but the Slacks say a large 2x4 slammed through the side windows.
Everyone inside was OK, and the seemingly destructive moment provided them some needed luck.
"We heard a huge bang!" John said. "It was the airbags. Thank God they're of a material that repels water because that was the only thing I could hold up against the window to keep the rain."
The people in the car held those airbags up for 17 hours until Dorian slowly made it most of the way through.
John then said he went through his scariest moments of the storm trying to climb through debris to let everyone else know the crew in the van was safe.
After the clouds all parted though, the couple found what everyone else on Abaco did: Destruction.
John's photos and videos from after the storm show houses destroyed, trees toppled and vehicles and boats thrown.
The Slacks also recorded thousands of people outside a local airport trying to get help or a way off the island. It's what they were hoping for too.
In the decades the Slacks have called the Abacos their second home, they've become heavily involved with AbacoShelter.org, a group that rescues stray animals on the island, spays and neuters them, and tries to get them homes with loving families.
The Slacks own two dogs came from those efforts.
The Slacks said Julie and Peter Whittington from the organization are using a plane to transport hurricane-abandoned animals, and hurricane-surviving people off of the island.
The Slacks were able to get seats onboard one of the Whittingtons' flights and get back to Florida.
John and Tichka said their home on the island, from what they've heard, has severe roof damage from the storm.
They're not sure if they'll rebuild or not, but they said the island and its people will need all the help they can get.