Search and rescue teams deployed to SW Florida in Ian’s aftermath
When two storms collide, Jacksonville gets wet. Image via News4Jax.

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'Hopefully we’ll be able to see a lot of those people brought to safety.'

Teams of emergency rescue workers have been sent to Southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian bashed the area Wednesday, bringing life-threatening storm surge, heavy winds and rain to the area.

Four Florida Urban Search and Rescue teams, as well as two teams from Virginia were sent to Fort Myers, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said Thursday. Each team is made up of 90 people, including physicians, structural engineers and K-9 police dog handlers.

“Early this morning the winds died down, so we got the teams closer to the impacted areas. When there’s light, these teams will be airlifted from the Ft. Myers area to area islands to begin lifesaving missions,” Patronis said in a released statement.

“Even before sunup, Task Force 2 began reconnaissance missions of Marco Island. Hurricane Ian basically sent the full force of the Gulf of Mexico over these islands, but fortunately Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue teams are the best-of-the-best when it comes to saving lives. They’ve got the training and the equipment to get the job done.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the U.S. Coast Guard has also conducted rescue missions early Thursday morning, carrying residents off of their rooftops.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told Good Morning America that fatalities in his county were “in the hundreds,” but DeSantis later said that estimate was unconfirmed and based on 911 calls.

“Of course those folks are now going to be checked on so I think you’ll have more clarity about that in the next day or so as they’re able to go to those locations and determine whether people need services,” DeSantis told reporters at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee on Thursday. “Hopefully we’ll be able to see a lot of those people brought to safety.”

“They have a pretty good sense of where those calls were coming from and they’re focusing their efforts on those areas that were most hard hit,” DeSantis added.

One Florida search and rescue team is headed to the Captiva barrier islands, while another is on site in Marco Island. The Virginia teams are also in Southwest Florida.

Gray Rohrer


One comment

  • Tom

    September 29, 2022 at 11:58 am

    Tropical 2 sea puff

Comments are closed.


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