‘I swam forever’: Son swims to rescue mother from flooded home after Hurricane Ian

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 4:01 PM HST
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FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. (CNN) - As Floridians begin to fully grasp the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Ian, stories of heroism are emerging.

Johnny Lauder said he waded through nearly half a mile of flooded streets to rescue his mother as the waters rose inside her home.

“I swam forever. I just wanted to get there. I knew time was of the essence,” Lauder said.

He said he pushed his mother’s wheelchair through the flood waters to get her to dry land.

“She’s warm, she’s safe and that’s all that matters,” Lauder said.

Federal, state, and local agencies, along with volunteers, continue their work on the ground in Florida, from rescues to helping start the rebuild.

Some island communities remain cut off from the mainland, but Florida Department of Transportation workers are working on a temporary bridge to reconnect Pine Island.

“This is not necessarily going to be a bridge you’re going to want to go 45 miles per hour over maybe, but at least you’ll have connectivity to the mainland,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.