FORT MYERS, Fla. (WSVN)– Florida Task Force teams are on a major mission after Hurricane Ian. They’re looking for people that may be stranded or trapped in the hopes they may still be alive.
This is what it looks like from the ground at Fort Myers Beach.
Hurricane Ian’s winds, combined with the storm surge, chewed through homes and businesses sparing nothing in its path.
“Massive devastation,” said Jennifer Brown, Florida Task Force 2, “something somewhat used to. My first deployment was Hurricane Katrina, ao a lot of hurricanes over the years. This certainly is big, big disaster.”
Brown is a K-9 search specialist with Florida Task Force 2.
Her dogs, Fierce and Fame, are searching for human remains throughout the area.
They’ve worked dozens of missions since Florida’s Task Force 2 first arrived at Fort Myers Beach, as the storm was still pounding this community.
“It was a good day. Again, you don’t want to leave anyone behind. That’s what we’re here for, but then on the other hand, we didn’t find anyone else. That’s a good thing,” said Brown.
A team of 80 from this Task Force have been busy crisscrossing a seven-mile stretch on the beach, working 24-7, going house to house in search of survivors.
“We found a lot of residents who are still sheltering in place, need some info, need some help just getting out, where to get water, ice, food, even just giving that info was a huge help for them,” said Ryan Hungtington, Florida Task Force 2.
It’s no easy task given the scene of homes crumbled, smashed and stacked on top of others, businesses blown to pieces.
A building that used to be over across the street was moved by the sheer power of the wind and water.
“We had about 60 medical emergencies that we responded to. Two people who actually went into cardiac arrest stopped breathing and the search and rescue personnel ended up performing CPR, able to get a pulse back and get them transported to a local hospital,” said Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Iggy Carroll Jr.
The team rescued an elderly couple, who were trapped in their home. The storm had washed away the entire ground floor of their two-story house.
Another woman was also rescued. She has cancer and rode out the storm, so she could continue her treatments nearby.
“It was rushing. It was like 30 mph. It was pulling houses, roofs apart, you can see them float by. We were sitting up in my bedroom watching all this debris go by,” said Catherine Batz
“Our best friend, we have not been able to contact him, he’s 92, and he said he’s not leaving the island. I hope he did. His phone’s out, and I sent the police out to his home,” said Bob Kopsack.
So many people, it seems, remain unaccounted for, leaving friends and loved ones to wonder if they made it out.
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