Crews search for sur­vivors

Res­cuers deal with af­ter­math of storm

The Record (Troy, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Russ Bynu­mand Bren­dan Far­ring­ton

MEX­ICO BEACH, FLA. (AP) >> Florida au­thor­i­ties fielded a bar­rage of calls about peo­ple miss­ing in Hur­ri­cane Michael’s af­ter­math as search-and-res­cue teams Fri­day made their way through rav­aged neigh­bor­hoods, look­ing for vic­tims dead or alive. The death toll stood at 13 across the South.

The num­ber of dead was ex­pected to rise, but au­thor­i­ties scrapped plans for set­ting up a tem­po­rary morgue, in­di­cat­ing they had yet to see signs of mass ca­su­al­ties from the most pow­er­ful hur­ri­cane to hit the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. in nearly 50 years.

Search teams con­tin­ued to pick their way through the ru­ins of Mex­ico Beach, the groundzero town of about 1,000 peo­ple that was nearly wiped off the map when Michael blew ashore there on Wed­nes­day with dev­as­tat­ing 155 mph (249 kph) winds.

State of­fi­cials said that by one count, 285 peo­ple in Mex­ico Beach de­fied manda­tory evac­u­a­tion or­ders and stayed be­hind. Whether any of them got out at some point was un­clear.

Emer­gency of­fi­cials said they have re­ceived thou­sands of calls ask­ing about miss­ing peo­ple. But with cell­phone ser­vice out across vast swaths of the Florida Pan­han­dle, of­fi­cials said it is pos­si­ble that some of those un­ac­counted for are safe and just haven’t been able to contact friends or fam­ily to let them know.

Gov. Rick Scott said state of­fi­cials still “do not know enough” about the fate of those who stayed be­hind in the re­gion.

“We are not com­pletely done. We are still get­ting down there,” the gover­nor added.

Emer­gency of­fi­cials said they had done an ini­tial “hasty search” of 80 per­cent of the stricken area, look­ing for the liv­ing or the dead.

Shell- shocked sur­vivors who barely es­caped with their lives told of ter­ri­fy­ing winds, surg­ing flood­wa­ters and homes crack­ing like eggs.

Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age-

ment Agency chief Brock Long said he ex­pects to see the death toll rise.

“We still haven’t got­ten into the hard­est-hit ar­eas,” he said, adding with frus­tra­tion: “Very few peo­ple live to tell what it’s like to ex­pe­ri­ence storm surge, and un­for­tu­nately in this coun­try we seem to not learn the les­son.”

Long ex­pressed worry that peo­ple have suf­fered “hur­ri­cane am­ne­sia.”

“When state and lo­cal of­fi­cials tell you to get out, dang it, do it. Get out,” he said.

Of­fi­cials, mean­while, set up dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ters out­side big stores such as Wal­Mart and Publix to pass out food and wa­ter to vic­tims. Some sup­plies were brought in by trucks, while oth­ers had to be de­liv­ered by he­li­copter be­cause some roads had yet to be cleared.

The deaths were spread through­out the storm’s vast path, from Florida to Vir­ginia, where at least four peo­ple drowned in flood­ing caused by Michael’s rainy rem­nants. Two died in North Carolina when a car smashed into a fallen tree.

On the Pan­han­dle, Tyn­dall Air Force Base “took a beat­ing,” so much so that Col. Brian Laid­law told the 3,600 men and women sta­tioned on the base not to come back. Many of the 600 fam­i­lies who live there had fol­lowed or­ders to pack what they could in a sin­gle suit­case as they were evac- uated.

A small “ride- out” team that hun­kered down as the hur­ri­cane’s eye­wall passed di­rectly over­head ven­tured out to find nearly ev- ery build­ing se­verely dam­aged, many a com­plete loss. The ele­men­tary school, the flight line, the marina and the run­ways were dev­as­tated.

MICHAEL SNY­DER/ NORTH­WEST FLORIDA DAILY NEWS VIA AP

An en­tire neigh­bor­hood be­tween 40th Street and 42nd Street in Mex­ico Beach, Fla. was wiped out by Hur­ri­cane Michael, Thurs­day, Oct. 11, 2018. The dev­as­ta­tion in­flicted by Hur­ri­cane Michael came into fo­cus Thurs­day with rows upon rows of homes found smashed to pieces, and res­cue crews be­gan mak­ing their way into the stricken ar­eas in hopes of ac­count­ing for hun­dreds of peo­ple who may have stayed be­hind.

SCOTT CLAUSE/ THE DAILY AD­VER­TISER VIA AP

Aerial pho­tos of the af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Michael on St Teresa Beach, Fla., Thurs­day, Oct. 11.

MICHAEL SNY­DER — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A large ship lists on its side in the St. An­drew Bay, at Panama City, Fla., Thurs­day, Oct. 11, 2018. The dev­as­ta­tion in­flicted by Hur­ri­cane Michael came into fo­cus Thurs­day with rows upon rows of homes found smashed to pieces, and res­cue crews be­gan mak­ing their way into the stricken ar­eas in hopes of ac­count­ing for hun­dreds of peo­ple who may have stayed be­hind.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.