Hurricane force winds ripped apart buildings and tossed ships ashore. Whole towns and the local airport became submerged, complicating rescue and relief efforts.
"I have never seen destruction like this on this scale on an island before," ABC News correspondent Marcus Moore told "Good Morning America" Tuesday from Marsh Harbour, a town in the Abaco Islands.
A U.S. State Department official said the Abaco Islands' Leonard M. Thompson International Airport is completely underwater.
Helicopters were deployed to airlift people from the Marsh Harbour Clinic to Nassau where relief efforts were being coordinated.
The death toll in the Bahamas reached 30 on Thursday, but Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands told a local radio station that the final death count will be "staggering."