Waterway debris cleanup on Fort Myers Beach from Hurricane Ian

Reporter: Marcello Cuadra Writer: Paul Dolan

We’ve seen the debris lining the streets of Southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian. But what about all the stuff you can’t see, like debris in or under the water?

On Friday, crews were on Fort Myers Beach working to remove debris from the waterways.

The machines used to remove debris from the waterways are enormous and look like an excavator on a barge.

Earlier on Friday, WINK News and some residents saw the machine in action and were very happy to see the waters getting cleaned up.

The machine used to clean debris from the waterways after Hurricane Ian. CREDIT: WINK News

Edgard Blank was born and raised on Fort Myers Beach, and he shared some thoughts with WINK News.

“It’s overwhelming the amount of debris that was generated here,” Blank said.

WINK News caught up with Blank, and he said he rode out the storm on his boat.

“I saw everything you can imagine go drifting back into the mangroves. There’s still plenty of work back in the mangroves. It’s just not in these canals,” Blank said.

“I was in the right place cause the damage I see on land and the boats, I don’t have any damage; I just ended up into the mangroves a little bit, and I think I was in the right place for this storm anyway,” Blank said.

What Hurricane Ian did to the waterways at Fort Myers Beach. CREDIT: WINK News

But his story doesn’t end there, and he said he was rescued by a helicopter.

“After that, it took me a couple of days to get kinda back on my feet to figure out what was next to do, help my friends here, you know, everybody here – we’re going to keep going at it,” Blank said.

On the island, you can start to see signs of progress toward recovery.

“To see them clean up, it’s going to take everybody to grab a bag and grab some trash and get rid of it. It’s going to take many months to get this back into shape. But it’s so great to see them doing it, cleaning up,” Blank said.

WINK News did get the chance to talk to someone from the company that is clearing the waterways.

They started yesterday they said, and will probably be out of the area on Saturday as well as taking debris out of the water.

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