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DeSantis says Hurricane Ian death count in Lee County still unclear

Lee’s sheriff said fatalities are in the “hundreds,” but DeSantis said that hadn’t been confirmed.
Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference as Florida awaits Hurricane Ian’s arrival at the Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Largo.
Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference as Florida awaits Hurricane Ian’s arrival at the Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Largo. [ ANGELICA EDWARDS | Times ]
Published Sep. 29

After the Lee County sheriff told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday morning that fatalities from Hurricane Ian were in the “hundreds,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said it was not a confirmed number, but rather “basically an estimate” based on calls for rescue.

DeSantis said there have been multiple people helicoptered to safety from southwest Florida’s barrier islands, but it was too early to count fatalities. He said there are two unconfirmed fatalities they suspect are linked to Hurricane Ian but said the state has not confirmed that information.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told “Good Morning America” that he didn’t have confirmed numbers but said “I definitely know the fatalities are in the hundreds,” and that there are thousands of people waiting to be rescued.

The clip, posted to Good Morning America’s website and Twitter, has since been deleted. A spokesperson for Good Morning America did not immediately respond.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson did not confirm the sheriff’s comments, but said that “at this time, Sheriff Carmine Marceno’s mission and focus is search and rescue” and that “everything is still unfolding and active.”

• • •

Tampa Bay Times Hurricane coverage

WHEN THE STORM HAS PASSED: Now what? Safety tips for returning home.

POST-STORM QUESTIONS: After Hurricane Ian, how to get help with fallen trees, food, damaged shelter.

WEATHER EFFECTS: Hurricane Ian was supposed to slam Tampa Bay head on. What happened?

WHAT TO DO IF HURRICANE DAMAGES YOUR HOME: Stay calm, then call your insurance company.

SCHOOLS: Will schools reopen quickly after Hurricane Ian passes? It depends.

SELF-CARE: Protect your mental health during a hurricane.

IT’S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.

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