Energy & Environment

Florida sheriff details Ian’s devastation: ‘It hit us, and it crushed us’

The sheriff of a Florida county that was in the direct path of Hurricane Ian called the storm a “life-changing” event. 

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America” on Thursday that the storm came into the county strong and slow-moving, at just a few miles per hour. 

“It hit us, and it crushed us,” Marceno said. “We’re assessing as we speak.” 

He said thousands of people are waiting to be rescued, but he cannot make a more specific assessment of the number of deaths until officials are able to have full access to each scene. 

He said officials are responding to events like drownings, but they are unsure of the exact details because they are “just starting to scratch the surface.” 

He said the special operations unit that was formed is unable to get to many in need as waterways and bridges remain compromised. He said some rescue and recovery efforts have begun and the state is uniting to use its resources to get through the storm. 

Marceno said authorities have made some rescues through waterways and have received thousands of calls through 911 for assistance, which they are answering. 

“This will be a life-changing event for the men and women that are responding,” Marceno said. “They’re going to see things that they haven’t seen before.”

Tags drownings Florida Hurricane Ian Hurricane Ian Lee County rescue and recovery storm damage

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