TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The number of deaths following Hurricane Ian’s rampage in Florida is continuing to rise, according to reports.
On Saturday evening, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced there have been 47 deaths attributed to the hurricane so far — mostly from drowning.
The Associated Press reported that 54 people in both the U.S. and Cuba were confirmed dead including four in North Carolina and three in Cuba.
These included a 62-year-old woman who was hurt and drowned after a tree fell on her mobile home, a 54-year-old man who drowned after being trapped in a window, and a Lee County woman whose body was found tangled in wires under a home.
A 71-year-old man also died after falling off his roof while installing rain shutters Wednesday.
Another death was also reported in the Tampa Bay area after a 22-year-old woman died in an ATV crash caused by a road washout in Manatee County.
Thursday, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office confirmed two storm-related deaths to 8 On Your Side. Friday, FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie said there was a death in Polk County, but Polk County Chief Medical Examiner Stephen Nelson said this was a mistake and that there were no hurricane-related deaths in his jurisdiction.
Nelson said that there was a miscommunication with the state. According to him, the death was reported in Lake County, but it was apparently mistaken for Lakeland in Polk County.
The medical examiner also said there was at least one death in Hardee County involving a road incident and floodwaters. News Channel 8 is working to confirm that death and any others with local authorities.
Guthrie did say there was a case of human remains found in an underwater home in Lee County.
“We do not know exactly how many were in the house,” he said Friday. “The water was up over the rooftop.”
More deaths are expected to be discovered as the floodwaters recede. According to Guthrie, the immediate death tolls after the storm are unreliable due to people dying from non-storm-related causes, so the totals being reported can vary and change as information goes in.
“People die in disasters that have nothing to do with the disaster,” he said. “The medical examiner is the one that makes that determination.”
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said Saturday that there were additional deaths in his jurisdiction, leading to an estimated total of 35 fatalities. According to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, 30 of those are storm-related.