The Courier-Mail - - NEWS -

MI­AMI: The small Gulf Coast com­mu­nity of Mex­ico Beach was known as a slice of Old Florida. Now it lies in splin­ters.

Hit head-on by Hur­ri­cane Michael, nu­mer­ous homes in the re­sort town of about 1190 peo­ple were shat­tered or ripped from their foun­da­tions.

Boats were tossed like toys. The streets clos­est to the wa­ter looked as if a bomb had gone off. What the 2.7m storm surge didn’t de­stroy, the 250km/h winds fin­ished off.

Now, res­cuers and res­i­dents are strug­gling to get to the ground-zero town to as­sess the dam­age and search for the hun­dreds of peo­ple who are be­lieved to have stayed be­hind.

A Na­tional Guard team went into the area and found 20 sur­vivors overnight, and more crews were push­ing into the stricken zone on Thurs­day. The fate of many other res­i­dents was un­known, author­i­ties said.

Pic­ture: AP

GROUND ZERO: Lee Cathey, 37, Al Cathey, 71, and Charles Smith, 56, sur­vey dam­age in Mex­ico Beach, Florida.

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