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People stuck on island cut off by Hurricane Ian rescued by helicopter

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This is the dramatic moment families are airlifted to safety after Hurricane Ian left them stranded on an island.

The US Coast Guard has spent almost a week saving Americans from the vicious storm, which has devastated communities in Florida and South Carolina.

It got so bad Sanibel Island was essentially cut off from mainland Florida after wind and rain decimated its infrastructure.

Petty officer Tyler Kilbane had to be lowered onto the island and was filmed chatting with locals before pulling them on board his helicopter in a rescue basket on Thursday.

Tyler got to Colin and his grandma first, telling them ‘you did good’ for getting the helicopter’s attention by flashing a piece of sheet metal in the sun.

Colin waited while his grandma was airlifted first, and then climbed into the crate while holding his dog.

Tyler’s GoPro video showed knee-length flood water and trees bent by the wind.

A man standing with floodwater up to his knees on Sanibel Island.
Torrential rainwater flooded the island’s homes and streets (Picture: US Coast Guard)
A woman getting airlifted with her cat in a crate.
Several people made sure their pets were taken with them to safety (Picture: US Coast Guard)
Destroyed homes and businesses on Pine Island.
Parts of Pine Island, also off Florida, were left completely submerged underwater (Picture: Reuters)
In an aerial view, boats are piled on top of each other after Hurricane Ian passed through the area.
Hurricane Ian could be the deadliest storm to have ever hit Florida (Picture: Getty)

The crew got to a married couple next, who could only get out of their trailer through its window because their furniture was floating in the floodwater and had blocked their trailer doors.

The husband was ‘shaking and hypothermic’ by the time Tyler got to him because he had been in the water. His wife took their cat with them in a pet carrier.

One man wearing a ‘US Open’ cap was visibly scared as he was airlifted while clutching his bag.

Tyler reassured him ‘they’ll take care of you’ before yelling ‘hold on tight’.

Several people have made headlines for refusing to leave their animals behind.

One Florida man risked his life to save a tiny cat despite it not even being his.

Megan Cruz Scavo filmed her boyfriend Michael wading through the raging waters to get the cat perched on top of an air conditioning unit.

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In an update, Megan told everyone the cat was ‘safe’, adding ‘Michael gave it food and water and is inside his parents’ house’.

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida last Wednesday in what may have been the deadliest in the state’s history – with the death toll reaching 87 today.

Areas were left completely unrecognisable, with homes either destroyed or washed away, power lines downed, boats wrecked and trees snapped in two.

In this aerial view, destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Ian is shown on October 02, 2022 in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
Fort Myers beach is one of the worst affected areas (Picture: Getty)
A pedestrian navigates a driving rain from Hurricane Ian on September 30, 2022 in Charleston, South Carolina.
Hurricane Ian hit South Carolina on Friday, flooding parts of Charleston (Picture: Getty)
A local resident walks in a flooded street as Hurricane Ian bears down on Charleston, South Carolina.
The storm weakened as it moved on from South Carolina (Picture: Reuters)

Ian moved on to South Carolina and made landfall there on Friday afternoon.

It saw less severe winds than Florida, but they were still incredibly dangerous.

Many parts of downtown Charleston were flooded as the storm surge reached as high as seven feet along the coast.

At least four piers, including two in Myrtle Beach and one on Pawleys Island, collapsed into the ocean.

Ian weakened as it made its way inland, then towards North Carolina, and dissipated across southern Virginia.

But ‘treacherous’ conditions are forecast across the east coast, including New York, New Jersey and Washington DC.

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