(NewsNation) — At least 58 people have died as a result of Hurricane Ian, according to local and federal officials. Authorities say they expect death counts to rise, and numbers are in flux as search and rescue efforts are underway.
While most died from drowning, others died from the storm’s aftereffects, the Associated Press reported, including an elderly couple who died when their oxygen machines shut off after losing power. Another man, 72, died in Volusia County after drowning when he went outside during the hurricane to drain his pool.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in an update on Facebook that 35 people have died in the area and over 600 to 700 people have been rescued as of Saturday afternoon.
“Last night I just sat there by myself thinking about the devastation, looking through pictures and I’ll tell you, it brought tears to my eyes,” the sheriff added, according to NewsNation local affiliate WFLA.
So far in Florida, NewsNation has tracked: 30 confirmed deaths in Lee County, 6 in Charlotte, 3 in Sarasota, 3 in Collier, 1 in Hendry, 1 in Polk, 5 in Volusia, 1 in Manatee and 1 in Lake.
North Carolina has seen four storm-related deaths since Friday morning, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news release.
Those who died in North Carolina were a 25-year-old who died after losing control of his vehicle; a 24-year-old woman whose vehicle went off a wet road and struck a tree; a man, 22, who drowned and a 65-year-old man who died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The 65-year-old man’s generator had been running in his closed garage while the power was out, a press release said. His wife was hospitalized.
Generators should always be used out of doors, and away from the home to avoid poisoning by carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless gas, the release said.
There were also three reported deaths in Cuba.
Many hurricane-related deaths happen in the days after the storm has passed, the National Hurricane Center says. These “indirect deaths” are primarily due to excessive heat and carbon monoxide poisoning.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster confirmed that South Carolina has not confirmed any storm-related deaths so far, but there is “much cleaning to do.”
As of Saturday, more than 1,000 people had been rescued from flooded areas along Florida’s southwestern coast alone, Daniel Hokanson, a four-star general and head of the National Guard, told The Associated Press while airborne to Florida.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.