Florida man shown escaping Pine Island as Hurricane Ian approaches shore

A Florida resident shared video of his narrow escape from Hurricane Ian as the storm approached his Pine Island home last week.

The video, shared on Twitter by Chris FL Tornado on Wednesday evening, begins with a view from the balcony of the house, showing heavy rain and increasing gusts of wind blowing in along the coast. The video then shows the man driving into inland Florida and escaping across the only bridge connecting the island to the peninsula.

Chris said in the tweet he was lucky that “no fallen trees would have prevented him from leaving the island safely. The Pine Island Road bridge suffered severe storm damage and was not reopened to the public until Wednesday night, according to WINK, a Fort Myers CBS affiliate.

Chris said in the tweet that he left home around 8:30 a.m. local time and was able to get himself and his mother to safety from the storm surge. Hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa, west of Pine Island, later that afternoon.

Lee County, which includes Pine Island and the surrounding Fort Myers area, faced some of the worst devastation from the Category 4 hurricane, which was responsible for more than half of the storm-related deaths reported by officials.

Aerial view of Pine Island Damage
The destruction sustained during Hurricane Ian is shown on October 3, 2022 in Pine Island, Florida. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that access to Pine Island has been restored after the only bridge connecting to the Florida Peninsula was damaged by the storm.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday that access to Pine Island was restored after three days of construction.

“Within 24 hours after I asked [Florida Department of Transportation] To get involved, we had more than 130 trucks rolling up and the crews went to work,” DeSantis said in a press release Wednesday. “We made it a priority and we not only got it done, we got it done quickly.”

DeSantis said he saw a lot of debris and damaged infrastructure during his tour of Pine Island Tuesday, according to WINK, but added that he also encountered several “resilient” residents who stayed on the island during the storm.

“There’s no way you would leave this island,” DeSantis said, according to WINK. “This is her home.”

DeSantis also told residents in a press conference Wednesday to “be patient” while rescue workers work through the “final little kinks” to reopen the island to the public, according to the news channel.

Pine Island’s southern neighbor, Sanibel Island, remains inaccessible by road and repairs to its bridge are expected to be completed by the end of the month, according to the DeSantis press release.

President Joe Biden also visited the Fort Myers area Wednesday to discuss recovery efforts with DeSantis and local business leaders. The President and First Lady took a helicopter flight to assess the damage to the area.

In a news conference, Biden also praised DeSantis for his recovery efforts to date, saying the governor has done a “remarkable job.”

According to PowerOutage.us, 143,235 customers were still without power in Lee County as of Wednesday night.

news week reached out to the DeSantis office for comment.

https://www.newsweek.com/watch-florida-man-shown-escaping-pine-island-hurricane-ian-neared-shore-1749299 Florida man shown escaping Pine Island as Hurricane Ian approaches shore

Rick Schindler

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