Carole McDanel wanted to stay in her Fort Myers home as Hurricane Ian neared the Florida coast.
Beth Booker was searching for her mother Carole McDanel, a 78-year-old retiree who was trapped by Hurricane Ian in her Fort Myers Beach home. Booker, who was in North Naples, was on the phone with McDanel, urging her elderly mother to climb as high as she could. McDanel had a stocked pantry, hurricane shutters, and new impact windows in her home of 24 years. “We prepared her home with shutters and supplies, after all our house has survived multiple major hurricanes including Charley and Irma,” Beth told CharlotteFive on Thursday afternoon.
🎥Fort Myers Beach— Julie Martin (@JulieMartinTV) September 29, 2022
This is the gulf side, traveling north.
Homes, rentals, and hotels are leveled. Town square is destroyed. & the pier is gone. pic.twitter.com/i1h7HBDQOj
Just before 2 pm on Wednesday after she had spoken with her mom and the water levels kept rising and rising. “I’m not scared. This is actually kind of exciting. And as for the stuff in my garage? It’s just stuff. You can replace stuff, you can’t replace people,” McDanel said to Booker. “I promise to never do this to you again because I know you’re worried,” she added. But at 3 pm the line of communication halted. “I haven’t heard from her since,” the 32-year-old publicist told The Washington Post in a phone interview Thursday morning. “It has been 22 hours. She honestly didn’t think it was going to be as bad as it was because initially, it was heading toward Tampa,” Booker told Tampa Bay Times “It just turned into such a vicious storm so quickly.”
Booker took to Twitter to help initiate a search for her mother and her tweet went viral. “It’s so unsettling to know that she’s alone,” Booker said. “I’m trying not to imagine the house filling up with water, or her trying to escape. “She was always the one in our family who would be there in a crisis,” she added. “So to not be there for her — that’s what hurts the most.” Fortunately, Booker's story has a happy ending. By early Thursday evening, she received the incredible news that her mother had been found. Her best friend, the boat captain, had gone out looking for the elderly woman with Booker’s husband. She was found safe and uninjured. “They have her,” Booker said in a video update. “And they’re bringing her to me.”
This is a developing story, and we’ll update you as we learn more. Information about Hurricane Ian is swiftly changing, and Womenworking is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. You can get official alerts and updates on Hurricane Ian from the National Hurricane Center.
Cover Image Source: Twitter | @itsbethbooker