Florida Task Force 2 takes to the water and air in Fort Myers in continued search and rescue mission

FORT MYERS, Fla. (WSVN) — It’s the first day on the water for Florida Task Force 2, as they unload boats off of Fort Myers Beach with a critical mission.

Search and rescue teams in Fort Myers are still finding bodies, as recently as Wednesday.

“Looking for any spots that might have been missed, looking for any potential fatalities stuck in the brush or any obstructions that we might want to check. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned,” said Florida Task Force 2 rescuer Peter Daryl.

The urban search and rescue team includes City of Miami Police officers and firefighters, and they have been planning meticulously.

“All these little dots are possible hot spots,” Daryl said, pointing to a map.

They combed through mangroves after storm surge collapsed homes along the coast and pushed debris across estuaries.

The team needing to use a drone to navigate issues like cars in the water or other obstacles that crews can’t see.

“I am also able to point out specific locations that are targets of interest for us, like possible victims,” said Florida Task Force 2 drone pilot Robert Pons.

The team’s work on the water and on land has been nonstop.

Looking across the island, there is trash everywhere.

Personal belongings litter the sand.

All of the wood and framing that is left behind used to be an actual house, and many houses that are still standing, have shifted off their foundation.

Florida Task Force 2 joined other task forces, as they scoured this island several times.

They are going through and checking every building, every vehicle and then they tag it, so you know it’s been looked at.

“The guys from Miami, I am telling you, they were just fantastic,” said Frank Murray, a Fort Myers resident.

Murray is one of the people who stayed for Hurricane Ian.

Now, this youth pastor wants to stay in his home.

“I mean there is stuff in there I am taking out,” he said. “I’ve got someone’s entire kitchen that washed in through the back wall of the house.”

Murray knows firsthand about losses in the area.

“A gentleman they found hanging out a window down Stirling Street down there, he didn’t make it,” Murray said.

People like Murray are ones first responders would like to see in a safer spot with fresh food, water and electricity.

“He should be out of the island in a safe place, comfortable bed,” Miami Police Sgt. Wily Diaz said, “and again, there are a lot of people who shouldn’t be here that need to go home, and I hope people learn from this, and we never do, for some reason.”

There are dozens of these task force members working day-in and day-out, but they said they will stay for as long as they are needed.