SANIBEL, Fla. - A man who flew to southwest Florida to ride out Hurricane Ian with his grandmother is safe — and so is his grandma and her dog — after the U.S. Coast Guard rescued them from a flooded barrier island.
Video from the U.S. Coast Guard shows rescue crews arriving Thursday by helicopter at the home on Sanibel Island, which was cut off from the mainland when the storm destroyed the only highway that connects the island.
A Coast Guard aircrew found the two and the dog while searching the island.
A U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin aircrew from Air Station Miami rescues two people and one dog who were stranded around Sanibel, Florida in the wake of hurricane Ian, Sept. 29, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard Video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyler Kilbane) /
"She wasn’t leaving one way or the other," the man told rescuers. "I flew down Monday night."
Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith said rescue efforts were still underway Thursday evening — about 200 households chose not to evacuate, FOX Weather reports.
Homes in Sanbiel, Florida, were inundated with water from Hurricane Ian. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued several from this neighborhood Thursday. (U.S. Coast Guard / FOX Weather)
"The most important thing we had to focus on were the people that were on the island that needed to get off. That was our number one priority." Smith said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that rescue crews have reached more than 3,000 homes across the state, but more are expected. The Coast Guard has made multiple rescues, including 12 people who were found injured on Sanibel Island.
Hurricane Ian remained a Category 1 storm Friday and is expected to hit the coastal Carolinas Friday afternoon.