Helicopters continue removal of derelict boats from mangroves

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

As a result of the storm surge from Hurricane Ian, many boats on Fort Myers Beach were swept into the mangroves along the Southwest Florida coast.

Barges were deployed to remove some of the vessels, but the ones deeper in the mangroves require a little help from above.

According to Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, they’ve removed 48 vessels. The contractor hired by the state said the helicopters are taking the long routes to avoid going over any mores and blocking off small sections of the road while they flow over them for 30 seconds at a time.

Crews are concentrating their work near Bunche Beach and are busy removing as many as 10 boats and a huge sailboat.

mangroves boats
Helicopter helping remove trapped boats. CREDIT: WINK News

WINK News asked businesses and workers nearby about the work going on next door.

“It’s been 10 months. It’s hard to think about that we are just thankful we are back in business and people are here having fun,” said Ryan Vandenabeele, the marketing director for Salty Sam’s. “Dining agencies are actively pursuing area to keep it clean and safe and keep Southwest Florida beautiful.”

“Go Fort Myers Strong. Fort Myers Strong, very resilient bunch of people here, and a lot will come back,” said Lloyd Nichols, a local realtor.

They’re supposed to get more workers sent in from the state because they have an Aug. 31 deadline to get everything done in the mangroves.

Crews are unsure how many boats they will remove from the water and mangroves.

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