TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 68-year-old woman died after she was swept into the Atlantic Ocean by powerful storm surges during the height of Hurricane Ian’s wrath in Volusia County, reports said.
According to NBC affiliate WESH, the woman’s tragic death marked the third deadly incident reported in the oceanside county in the days following Ian’s aftermath.
Volusia Beach officials said the unidentified woman from Kentucky was pulled into the ocean by storm surge Thursday as her family ventured out near Ormond Beach to watch as the worst of Hurricane Ian battered the east coast of the state.
Officials said the woman was swept into the water but quickly rescued by her son. WESH reported that the two tried to get off the beach, but a stairway collapsed, sending the woman back into the water.
Rescuers, hampered by the then-tropical storm conditions, arrived soon after but were unable to revive the woman.
Saturday morning, the Associated Press reported 27 deaths after Hurricane Ian, some of them directly caused by the hurricane.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said Saturday there were dozens of additional deaths in his jurisdiction. The sheriff estimated there were a total of 35 fatalities. However, it is not known how many of those were storm-related. That figure will ultimately be determined by a medical examiner.
Hurricane Ian made its first landfall Wednesday afternoon near Cayo Costa, Florida, as a Category 4 storm with winds at 150 mph, securing its position as one of the strongest storms to ever hit the mainland U.S.