Dozens of deaths reported after Hurricane Ian slams into Florida
At least 81 people in Florida have died due to Hurricane Ian, according to local officials. Four additional people were also reported dead due to the storm in North Carolina, the governor’s office said. The Category 4 storm slammed into Florida’s southwest coast Wednesday afternoon, causing catastrophic damage, fierce winds and dangerous, record-breaking storm surges.
The deaths span multiple counties in Florida, including 42 in Lee County, 23 in Charlotte County, five in Volusia County, three each in Collier and Sarasota counties, two in Manatee County, and one each in Hillsborough, Lake and Hendry counties, hindumetro has determined based on information from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission and inquiries with local officials and authorities.
The death toll from the catastrophic storm has been rising amid ongoing search and rescue missions. Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said that upward of 700 people were rescued in the devastated county. The causes of the deaths in Florida were primarily drownings, as well as two vehicle accidents and a roofing accident, officials said.
The confirmed deaths from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement occurred in Lake, Sarasota, Manatee, Volusia and Collier counties between Sept. 27 and 30. The victims ranged in age from 22 to 91. One, a 68-year-old woman, drowned after being swept into the ocean by a wave on Sept. 29, the department said.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office was among the first to publicly announce a fatality from Ian. A 72-year-old man in Deltona died after attempting to drain his pool during the storm, the office said Thursday. The man, who was not publicly identified, “disappeared” after heading outside, the sheriff’s office said. Deputies found him unresponsive in a canal behind the home and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital, the sheriff’s office said.
Emergency response was largely halted Wednesday as the storm slammed Florida with high winds and heavy rain. Search and rescue efforts were underway throughout the state Thursday.
Florida Rep. Kathy Castor, who represents the Tampa Bay area, called the situation a “major catastrophe.” Florida Sen. Rick Scott told “Good Morning America” Thursday morning there were “thousands of rescue efforts going on right now.”
“We’ve got great sheriff’s departments, police departments, fire departments, state rescue teams. They’re working hard. But there’s a lot of people that need help right now,” he said. “We still cannot access many of the people that are in need,” Marceno said. “It’s a real, real rough road ahead.”