Hurricane Ian: Good Samaritan helps locate 84-year-old woman stranded from rising waters

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. — A Florida resident living at a retirement community and stranded after Hurricane Ian roared through the area was located by a good Samaritan who responded to a plea on social media from the woman’s daughter.

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Christine Bomlitz, of Las Vegas, had been trying to reach her 84-year-old mother, Shirley Affolter, a retiree who had worked for the Otis Elevator Company, according to The Associated Press. Affolter was living in a retirement community in Englewood, north of where Ian made landfall as a Category 4 storm.

Bomlitz said her mother had lost her cellphone before the storm, and her landline went down as the hurricane pounded the coast of southwest Florida.

Affolter was supposed to leave with other residents at Lemon Bay Isles as part of an evacuation plan, but the woman was never picked up and was forced to stay in her manufactured home, according to the AP.

Her daughter became more nervous as Ian pummeled the coast with winds exceeding 150 mph at the center and churning storm surges. After not hearing from her mother on Thursday, Bomlitz posted a plea on social media, hoping to find her mother’s whereabouts, according to the AP.

“I called to have (a) well check, but who knows when that will be,” Bomlitz wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “The group she signed up to evacuate seniors did not get her so she rode it out by herself.”

The story has a happy ending.

On Thursday afternoon, a man waded into chest-high floodwaters in her mother’s neighborhood to do a welfare check, the AP reported. Bomlitz said she and other people were trying to arrange a boat rescue.

“I’m thankful for this stranger,” Bomlitz told the news organization. “A total stranger. People are amazing.”

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