MATLACHA, Fla. — As road repairs kicked off in Pine Island, The U.S. Coast Guard helped evacuate residents stuck on the island Monday morning.
“We’ve been doing boat lift operations from the Yucatan Waterfront,” said Lt. Jacob Sily.
Sily said his team touched ground in Matlacha on Friday. Since then they’ve helped with hundreds of evacuations.
“We've transported over 400 plus to date so far, we've also done 9 pallets of food and water,” said Sily.
Sily said it’s been a group effort between the fire department, search and rescue teams and civilians offering their water vessels.
“The community honestly for helping us out, seeing how everyone has responded and helped the Coast Guard out, it puts a fire in you to keep wanting to do this kind of thing because you know people care,” he said.
He said they’re starting to see more evacuees as residents are being asked to leave the island, which currently has no running water or power.
“In the last couple of days, we’ve seen an influx of elderly people coming off the island. I don't know if it’s due to medical needs and things like that,” he said.
Fox 4 was there when the Coast Guard helped an elderly couple off one of the boats they were evacuated on.
It was all hands on deck to help them get Anette Mills, 81, and Ed Howard, 96, off the boat safely.
Mills and her partner Ed have been together for 30 years. She said it was time to leave Saint James City, the place they call home.
“No power, no power, and no way to cook or anything. No water coming in,” Mills said.
As evacuation efforts are ongoing, the Coast Guard has local paramedics on team and Lee Tran buses to help transport people to nearby shelters or a pick-up point.
Mills and Howard were transported to a nearby Publix, where their daughter was waiting for them.
“San Diego we’re heading for, isn’t that great, my daughter lives there,” she said.
The U.S. Coast Guard said they will remain in Matlacha for as long as it is needed.