A 72-year-old Florida man drowned after he went outside to drain his pool drain during Hurricane Ian. According to officials, local deputies responded to a home near Lake Bethel around 1 a.m. after the man’s wife called emergency first responders after he disappeared.
“While searching for him, deputies found his flashlight, then spotted the victim unresponsive in a canal behind the home,” the Sheriff’s Office said in an official statement.
Once they arrived at the home, several deputies pulled the man from the water and performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Sadly, the man never recovered. Doctors later pronounced him dead at the hospital.
Officials said that the man was using a hose to drain the pool down a hill and into a 30-foot-wide canal, where a decline into the water was slick due to flooding. “The Sheriff’s Office sends its sincere condolences to the victim’s family,” the department wrote in an official release.
On Thursday morning, weather officials reclassified Hurricane Ian to a tropical storm and advanced off of the state’s east Coast by 11 a.m. However, it was still causing torrential downpours and bringing catastrophic flooding to some areas.
Although the hurricane is now a tropical storm, people are still feeling the devastation. Historic floodwaters led to stranded vehicles across the state as law enforcement in Volusia County reported the area’s first death from the storm. However, the statewide death toll has yet to be determined.
Florida Governor gives update on Hurricane Ian: ‘Going to require years of effort to rebuild’
“You’re looking at a storm that’s changed the character of a significant part of our state, and this is going to require, not just the emergency response now, and the days or weeks ahead, I mean this is going to require years of effort, to be able to rebuild, to come back,” he said.
According to the National Hurricane Center’s update from 11 a.m., the eyewall was about 40 miles north-northeast of Cape Canaveral. It was also nearly 300 miles south of Charleston, S.C.
In addition, the storm had dropped in strength to 65 mph at 5 a.m. However, meteorologists expect the storm will reach hurricane status again before it continues to travel up the U.S. East Coast on Friday.
Copious rainfall was also forecast, which resulted in flash flood warnings across the central part of the state. In addition, by 11 a.m., more than 2.6 million residents were without power across the state.
“Lee and Charlotte are basically off the grid at this point,” Gov. DeSantis said in an update. “Charlotte and Lee reconnects are really going to likely have to be rebuilding of that infrastructure.”