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BONITA SPRINGS, Florida. – A group of Good Samaritans mobilized to rescue a man from his flooded car as Hurricane Ian ravaged Florida’s southwest coast on Wednesday.
“We saw an elderly man struggling in his car and we knew he needed help,” says Benny van @colliercountycowboys said.
A video from @colliercountycowboys_ shows the man being lifted from a submerged vehicle in Bonita Springs and dragged to safety through medium-high waters. The door of the man’s vehicle was jammed shut before they intervened, Benny added.
“The guys all insisted on grabbing the door and prying it open,” he said. “He was in a bit of shock so he wouldn’t let go, so we assured him we were there to help him.”
The men managed to carefully remove the stranded man from his car and bring it to shore, away from the current.
Southwest Florida was ravaged by the historic storm on Wednesday afternoonwhich came ashore with wind gusts of 150 mph and a record-breaking storm surge.
Ian came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane near Cayo Costa in Lee County, just after 3 p.m. EDT, according to the National Hurricane Center, cutting power to more than 2 million customers across Florida and causing dozens of similar water rescues in the southwestern part of the state.
From 5 a.m. Thursday, Ian weakened to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds around 65 mph. The cyclone is over Central Florida and could emerge over the Atlantic Ocean by midday. Wind gusts of 39 mph to 73 mph will continue to hit the peninsula through Thursday.
Once the cyclone exists on Florida’s east coast, it will move toward South Carolina. Tropical storm warnings are in effect from Florida to southern North Carolina.