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Sanibel mayor provides update; two fatalities confirmed on island

Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith provides an update to the situation on the island, hit hard by Hurricane Ian.
Special to WGCU
Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith provides an update to the situation on the island, hit hard by Hurricane Ian.

Two dead and twelve injured were confirmed at an update on Hurricane Ian's affect on Sanibel Island by Mayor Holly Smith.

Speaking from the Sanibel Room at the Crowne Plaza in Fort Myers, the mayor said officials were doing everything they could to assess damage.

Sanibel Police Chief William Dalton said debris on roads has prevented police from patrolling and making well-being checks deeper into the island.

"We had no operational picture," he said. "We have a picture now."

Smith said there were about 200 homes where occupants did not evacuate before Ian hit. She said trying to find out information on all of those was important and would be a priority among the messages she had waiting for her.

Sanibel officials also said that they began shuttling workers and others onto and off the island on Thursday. LCEC, the island's power provider, was to begin assessments Friday and some water plant workers would be brought back on the island as well.

Dalton said the police department was working on a security plan that involves getting police cars on the island. Those units were driven off in advance of Ian and prevented from returning by the breach of the Sanibel Causeway.

A barge was planned to arrive Sunday to help ferry needed vehicles and emergency supplies to Sanibel.

Dalton said residents would be allowed on the island if they made their own way there.

"We ask you to be prudent," he said.

Smith reminded residents that the Lee County curfew also applies to Sanibel.

"I want to thank everybody. We're all in this together. Yesterday was a life-changing day," Smith said as she closed the update. "We're going to work together."

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