Hoosiers share experiences evacuating and heading toward Florida amid Hurricane Ian

NOW: Hoosiers share experiences evacuating and heading toward Florida amid Hurricane Ian

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Hurricane Ian officially made landfall just after 3 p.m. Wednesday. Many were racing to evacuate, but some are racing to get there in time, to help those stranded.

Indiana Task Force 1 was activated to help with disaster relief efforts, as Hurricane Ian ravages through parts of Florida. Task Force Leader Gerald George said 45 team members and six support personnel traveled from the Hoosier state to Florida.

“We go try to help people, probably on the worst day of their life, and get them through that process. Whether it’s giving them medical care, or getting them out of water, whatever that may be,” George said.

They are waiting on standby in Lakeland City, Florida, roughly 3 hours from all the action.

“Everybody is just anxious to help whomever may need our assistance,” George said.

He said the long hours of travel are rough, but it’s worth it to make a difference in the midst of a disaster like Hurricane Ian.

“We just appreciate all the support that we get from all the people in Indiana,” he said. “and especially our families who allow us to do this on a moment’s notice.”

While some raced to help those in danger, others evacuated to get out of danger.

David DiVaccaro was on the very last flight out of Sarasota before the storm.

“They told us as we entered the airport. So, as I was checking my bags, they said ‘it’s a good thing you’re here, ‘cause there’s no other flights going out tonight,’” DiVaccaro said.

He is the father of one of ABC57’s news photographers, and said he was visiting Sarasota for business.

“People were trying to evacuate, and the traffic was so bad that, unfortunately a lot of them were just stranded there,” he said. “So thankfully, I was going the opposite direction, there was virtually no traffic.”

“I felt terrible for those poor people who were working in the airport, ‘cause i knew they were getting ready to shut down. But then they had to go home and basically hunker down because they didn’t have time to evacuate,” he continued.

Share this article: