Hundreds of people have been killed after the historic Hurricane Ian decimated Florida, a sheriff in the hardest-hit region revealed early Thursday, September 29.
The death toll is expected to increase as Floridians wake up to assess the true extent of the damage.
“This is a life-changing event for all of us,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told Good Morning America today.
“I don’t have confirmed numbers — I definitely know the fatalities are in the hundreds,” he added.
“So far, confirmed in the hundreds,” he said, noting that conditions were too dire for his officers and other rescuers to get a true sense of the disaster.
“There are thousands of people that are waiting to be rescued. And again, cannot get a true assessment until we’re actually on scene assessing each scene, and we can’t access people that’s the problem,” he said.
The sheriff warned that rescue crews are going to “see things they’ve never seen before”.
More than 80% of the area was also without power, further hampering any rescue attempts, County Commissioner Kevin Ruane had said.
As of early Thursday, more than 2.5 million people across Florida were without power, according to NY Post.
“My heart goes out to them,” Ruane said of the trapped. “We will try to help them as soon as we can. We will get to them.”