Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has provided an update on estimated fatalities as a result of Hurricane Ian after Sheriff Carmine Marceno said during an interview Thursday morning that he believed hundreds of people had been killed.
Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday night as one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the state of Florida.
During an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with host George Stephanopoulos, Marceno said that while he didn’t have “confirmed numbers,” the “fatalities are in the hundreds.” The sheriff added that he couldn’t provide a true estimate until each scene had been assessed.
“And this will be a life-changing event for the men and women who are responding,” Marceno stated. “They’re going to see things they’ve never seen before.”
Governor DeSantis pushed back during a press conference on the claim that hundreds of fatalities had been confirmed.
“None of that is confirmed,” DeSantis said. “I think what that is, is there were 911 calls for people saying, ‘Hey, the water is rising in my home. I’m going to go up in the attic. But I’m really worried.’ Of course, those folks are now going to be checked on.”
“And so, I think you’ll have more clarity about that in the next day or so as they’re able to go to those locations and determine whether people need services or are able to be rescued,” he added.
“That number that was put out by Lee is basically an estimate of ‘Hey, these people were calling.’ The water was rising on their home. They may not have ended up getting through. So, we’re obviously hoping that they can be rescued at this point,” DeSantis continued.
Gov. DeSantis on Lee County Sheriff reporting that fatalities could be “in the hundreds” following Hurricane Ian: “None of that is confirmed.” pic.twitter.com/r75yZnqI1J
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) September 29, 2022
During the earlier interview, Stephanopoulos pressed Marceno regarding how many people had died, to which Marceno, a Republican, responded: “So far, confirmed in the hundreds, meaning, that we are responding to events: drownings, again, unsure of the exact details because we are just starting to scratch the surface on this assessment.”
Awful: Sherrif of Lee County, Florida, Carmine Marceno tells @GMA that fatalities from Hurricane #Ian are 'in the hundreds'.
Says there are thousands waiting to be rescued. pic.twitter.com/6VXjWEDq1U
— Moshe Schwartz (@YWNReporter) September 29, 2022
Marceno was also pressed by local media to clarify his remarks after he told CNN that there were only five confirmed deaths in his county.
“Sheriff Marceno is dedicated to search and rescue and post-storm assessments. We will have to get back to you,” Sheriff’s Capt. Anita Iriarte, a spokesperson, said in response. “Search and rescue efforts are underway. We could have hundreds missing. As the days progress, the numbers will be clearer.”