Woman Uses Social Media To Find Mom Trapped In Flooded Home Amidst Hurricane Ian

When 78–year-old Carole McDanel was called to evacuate her Fort Myers Beach home before Hurricane Ian, she didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. Rather than packing her belongings and hitting the road, she did her best to foolproof her house for the storm so she could stay behind and wait it out.

On September 28th, however, things took a sour turn. The hurricane rolled into Fort Myers with a vengeance and Carole’s home began to flood.

Photo: flickr/South Florida Water Management District

Beth Booker, Carole’s daughter, was keeping track of her mom through phone calls to ensure she stayed stay throughout the storm.

Beth was horrified when Carole sent her photos of her flooding two-story house. As Beth shared on Twitter, the water got so high that day that it flooded the entire downstairs and got dangerously close to the upstairs.

Panicked, Beth took to social media to beg anyone with resources to find and rescue her mom. Prior to the storm, authorities made it known that help may not be available for those who chose not to evacuate, but many stayed behind thinking the storm wouldn’t be bad.

Beth tweeted, “This is my family’s home of 24 years. We’ve survived Charley and Irma. We will survive Ian. My mom refused to evacuate with me because she has impact windows and hurricane shutters and felt safer than being at my house in North Naples without shutters. Please pray for her.”

Around 8 pm that night, Beth tweeted that she believed her mom was still in the home and she desperately wanted help. She said: “Updating this thread, too. My mom is still there. I have not heard from her since 3pm today. I have contacted every rescue I can think of (with the help of this incredible community). @FLGuard has her information and my contact has told his team she is priority.”

Photo: flickr/The National Guard

The next morning, Beth shared an update that she still hadn’t heard from her mom, Carole, and that she didn’t sleep hardly all night

She said, “You see this kind of stuff happen on the news. You see this on social media. You see it happen in other cities and you know it can happen here when you live in Florida. We all know that, But when it’s actually happening to you, it is honestly unbelievable.”

People around the world held their breathe in anticipation, hoping Carole made it home safely. By the afternoon of the 29th, Beth shared the update everyone was hoping for. She tweeted:

“Home. Safe. Not a scratch. Grateful. #GetCaroleHome, we did it.”

In an interview with Good Morning America, Beth said her husband and a family friend found Carol sitting on the couch safely inside her home.

Speaking with GMA, Carole expressed how thankful she was to have people supporting and looking out for her. She said: “I have so much gratitude for the overwhelming support I’ve received from people around the world, complete strangers, who were wishing for my well-being during Hurricane Ian. That positive energy and those prayers were felt by me through one of the most isolating and uncertain moments in my life.”

It’s a good reminder to always follow evacuation orders, even if you don’t believe things will get too bad. Putting yourself in a place to need rescuing when you could’ve left safely only uses resources and puts first responders at risk.

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