A group of people swam to a Walmart parking lot during the storm surge after their homes began to flood.

Beth Ross lost everything but her life in Hurricane Ian.

“We would have evacuated, but my elderly parents live in Bayside, half a mile closer to the beach,” Ross said.

Ross’s elderly family didn’t want to leave, so she didn’t want to leave.

When Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida, reality hit Ross.

“I was scared,” Ross said.

The water in her house was rising and her chances of survival were falling.

“We swam to Walmart because the water came up about five minutes later and filled my house and I didn’t want to drown,” Ross said.

Ross said the water was flowing fast and it was difficult to stand up.

“We had to become a living chain, everyone tried to help each other. You couldn’t stand up, the water was up to our necks,” Ross said.

Ross, her boyfriend, their dog, and several strangers swam 800 feet to get to Walmart, where they spent 8 hours.

“Walmart had flying debris. It was crazy, there was about 8-10 feet of water in the Walmart parking lot. The water was rising higher and higher, we were at the front door and I thought we were going to drown. We saw a row of USPS mail vans and got in there because they were abandoned, so we tried to sleep there,” Ross said.

Ross said they were lucky to be alive.