The Britons stranded by superstorm Sandy

Part of a crane damaged by storm Sandy hangs loose in the New York skyline
Image caption Part of a crane damaged by storm Sandy still hangs loose in New York

Britons trapped in New York in the path of storm Sandy have spoken of their experiences, as many struggle to return to the UK.

The storm hit the east coast on Monday night, killing at least 80 people in the US.

Millions of homes have been left without power and many visitors are scrambling for airline seats now the storm has passed.

Airlines have resumed operating close-to-normal schedules to the UK and put on additional flights but there is a backlog of passengers after cancellations earlier in the week.

Mira Robinson, from Sheffield, had her flight delayed from Tuesday until Friday and is desperate to get home to see her children.

"I've got a daughter who's two so she doesn't really know what's going on, but my six-year-old son is very upset," she said.

"I have been talking to him every day and saying that I miss him and I love him."

Mrs Robinson flew to the city with a friend to take in some Broadway shows.

Speaking from Manhattan about the aftermath of the storm, she added: "The further downtown you go, the more you see devastation. There are no traffic lights and there are trees down.

"When we went out yesterday all the roads were blocked with cars and we saw a couple of crashes where people had nudged forward and got side swiped."

In Queens, New York, US-based British photographer Lem Lattimer took pictures showing the full force of the storm.

"It's devastation everywhere," he said.

"The winds were so bad that you thought trees were going to come down around you. I love extreme weather but there was no way I was going out while it was all going on.

Image caption Lem Lattimer came across houses in Queens destroyed by the storm

"I wanted to see the aftermath, so yesterday I went to the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens which got hit really hard.

"It's a popular beach spot but the sand dunes are completely gone, while so many houses are destroyed.

"My wife and I have friends who have had their homes destroyed up in Breezy Point; they've just gone."

Schoolgirls stranded

Five schoolgirls whose journey home was delayed will be taken straight from Heathrow Airport to vital exam resits when they finally return to the UK next week.

The teenagers are part of a group of 38 from Leicester High School for Girls, and they are due to take the exams following this summer's controversy over GCSE English grade boundary changes.

Their flight will land at 06:35 GMT next Wednesday and the school has arranged a bus to take them directly to sit the papers.

Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth asked the government to help the teenagers get an earlier flight.

In a question to Andrew Lansley, Leader of the House of Commons, Mr Ashworth said: "They have been offered a flight on Tuesday but the problem is that many of them have got exams next week. Could we have a statement and can the Government look at ways of getting those schoolgirls back in time for their exams?"

Mr Lansley said: "One of our responsibilities is to offer consular assistance for those who need it so I will contact my colleagues at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to see if they can respond to you on that."

A statement on the school's website says: "Efforts are being made to send work to the girls who have exams when they return. Whilst much work is going on behind the scenes to secure earlier flights, this is what is secured for now."

'Terrific' wind

Jo Sensini, from Chiswick, west London, was on the 26th floor of the New Yorker Hotel in midtown Manhattan with her two sons and a friend during the storm.

They were told they could move down to the ballroom on the second floor if they wanted.

"It was a very scary night on Monday but we braved it out in the room," she said. "A lot of other people went down to the second floor.

"The wind was terrific. We were in a protected part of the building but you could really feel it and the windows were rattling.

"We walked around on Tuesday night and it was pitch darkness. The power was out in most places and lots of people were in Starbucks charging their phones.

"I'm flying back to London tonight. I don't think I will be coming back to New York for quite a long time."

June Morris, from Cheshire, arrived at Birmingham Airport this morning from New York and told the BBC about the storm.

"The skies were lighting up, you could hear explosions, wires were coming down, trees were coming up and the lights went out," she said.