Hurricane Ian Death Toll at 70 & Majority From Drowning

when flooded turn around don't drown sign

Streets of downtown in Fort Myers get flooded due to the surge of the Caloosahatchee River as Hurricane Ian hit the West Coast of Florida as a Category 4 storm, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. Drowning has emerged as the top cause of death from the storm.

Most of the deaths in Hurricane Ian were from drowning, according to official accounts of fatalities from a storm that has killed at least 70 people, according to authorities.

Officially, 25 deaths have been tied to Hurricane Ian, according to reports from medical examiner offices, but authorities are reporting far more deaths in hard-hit areas.

Combining tallies from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission with other deaths reported by sheriff offices on Saturday, Hurricane Ian has killed 71 people in Florida.

Fatality numbers are likely to rise in the coming days. Rescue teams also haven’t been able to reach all areas hit by Ian, with an unknown number of people still missing from the storm.

On Saturday, Lee County’s sheriff announced 35 deaths from Hurricane Ian in that hard-hit jurisdiction alone, nearly triple the official count for Lee released the same day by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission.

“It is with a heavy heart that I say that number,” Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in a Facebook video post.

Lee County accounts for half of the Ian deaths in tallies from medical examiner offices across Florida. Those reports show floodwaters were the greatest danger from the storm. Of the 25 official fatalities in those reports, all but five listed drowning as a cause of death. 

Video of sharks swimming in the streets of Fort Myers, Florida

Popular Maps