New Smyrna Beach man drowns in flood waters awaiting rescue

Hurricane Ian claimed the life of a New Smyrna Beach man after the 67-year-old drowned while waiting to be rescued. 

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office reported that the man was inside of his home on Lake Drive, close to SR-44, when he fell. He was unable to get back up, water rose above him, and he drowned. 

Jacob and Brandy Gray LaFrance live on the street. They tell FOX 35 neighbors were panicking to escape their homes as the water filled their homes. 

"I expected trees to be down. We expected all of that, but we did not expect the water," said Jacob. 

The family tried to shelter in their RV but that soon filled with water too, forcing them to evacuate by truck.

"The RV steps started to come up and that’s the highest ground and I think we made it to one step left when we left we couldn’t stay anymore," said Brandy. 

The City of New Smyrna Beach reported 180 evacuations to emergency shelters. FOX35 watched as crews with the National Guard made their way through flooded streets Friday. 

As for residents, they say it’s now a waiting game for the water to go down.

"And as long as we have a low tide, it’s gonna drain a bunch of it out of here. I’m figuring by tomorrow afternoon we should be able to get in and start cleaning up," said Lynn Morgan.