THE PINE WOODS OF THE ISLANDS

A family living on Pine Island weathered Hurricane Ian with the help of brave neighbors and a boat.

The hurricane hit Pine Island hard with a storm surge that quickly filled roads and flooded people’s homes.

One family was weathering the storm in their home when they noticed the water outside was rising rapidly.

“The water came up even more and I’m like, ‘Okay, that’s not good.’ And then he came in and said we had to go. Take whatever is important to you and we need to cross the street,” said one of the women who swam to safety.

Crossing the street was easier said than done. The water rose and the wind pushed it, which created a dangerous current.

“We look over and we see Tom just holding Brie and they’re just walking through. It looked like whitecaps,” said one of the women who watched Tom swim with the family dog. “When I saw how fast the water was moving with the tracks, I just thought, please don’t let the currents, for example, destroy them.”

As soon as they were on the other side of the street, it was time to save the neighbors.

“Plain and simple, Mike and Tom saved our lives,” said one of the men rescued by his boat neighbor.

Mike and Tom got on the boat and headed to the neighbor’s house. The wind from the storm nearly knocked them over as they approached the house.

When everyone was inside, the storm was still trying its best to reach them. The family says they had to use a spring to keep the door closed. They say that metal sheets fell on the ceiling, windows were broken around them.

Despite the horrific experience, all participants said it wasn’t enough to keep them from staying in Florida. They all plan to stay and rebuild because Florida is home.