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Va. couple stranded on St. John by Hurricane Irma surprised, rescued after 7 days

7 ON YOUR SIDE: Va. couple stranded on St. John by Hurricane Irma gets help after 7 days. (ABC7)

After a Falls Church couple was stranded by Hurricane Irma in their dream home overlooking Coral Bay on St. John, help finally came from an unexpected source.

Ed Smith, a retired Navy captain and artist, and his wife, Mary-France Smith, have been married 42 years. Their storm-fortified home survived Irma’s devastating attack on the island, but they lost power, water, and an escape route.

Back in Arlington, their daughter, Stephanie Whitaker spotted a video a pilot posted online. She thought she saw a landslide below her parents’ house.

Desperate, Whitaker turned to Facebook, and mobilized a network of friends to contact congressmen, FEMA, the Department of Defense, and the Red Cross.

She was told that unfortunately, resources weren’t available to help.

On the seventh day, supplies had run out. Delirious with exhaustion, the Smiths’ only choice was to venture out through the debris and downed wires to find help.

But the night before, Glenn Archer, executive director of the National Fusion Center Association had heard about the Smiths' plight. His wife saw Stephanie's plea for help.

Archer contacted the Fusion Center on St. John, pinned down GPS coordinates, scoured satellite photos, and worked through the night.

In the morning, an FBI SWAT member was dispatched.

Archer was in a policy meeting when he got the call: the Smiths were safe on a Coast Guard ship.

Two weeks after the rescue, back at their Falls Church home, the Smiths don't know when they'll return to paradise.

But 7 ON YOUR SIDE wanted to make sure they met the man on their side, so we brought them together. Watch the video above to see them together.

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