Man Swims Half-Mile to Rescue 84-Year-Old Mom in Home Flooded by Hurricane Ian

Karen Lauder, an 84-year-old wheelchair user, was trapped up the neck in water in her flooded Naples, Florida, home. Rescues continue in the hardest hit areas of Florida.

A man swam half a mile through Hurricane Ian flood waters to rescue his mother, an 84-year-old wheelchair user trapped in her flooded home.

Johnny Lauder, 49, arrived at the home of Karen Lauder in Naples, Florida, along with his son Xavier. They found her alive, but terrified and up to the neck in water with her belongings floating around her. 

“I got her up on a table wrapped up so she doesn't go into hypothermia,” Johnny said in a video of the ordeal.

They then had to push Karen in her wheelchair through the flood waters to get her to a hospital.

“I took a picture to make sure the family would know that grandma was safe. I’ve never seen her happier to see me,” John tells Inside Edition. 

“It was pretty bad. I knew I didn’t have much time, because the water kept coming up faster. If I’d have been later, she wouldn’t be here,” John continued.

More stories of love and loss are emerging across Florida.

James and Margaret Cruz rode out the hurricane in a loft above their garage and took what they feared might be their last selfie. Miraculously, they survived while their home in Fort Myers was destroyed around them.

“We watched all the walls get pushed in by the water. We hunkered down over in the corner, and we said quite a few prayers,” James Cruz said.

Coast Guard helicopters continue to patrol stricken areas and perform daring rescues. 

One man was plucked from a boat that had been blown on shore. A resident of Sanibel Island was airlifted to safety after putting up a huge “HELP” sign in her windows. 

Also in Fort Myers, Dominic Cameratta and his daughter Ella were shooting video of the rising waters behind their home when they noticed a shark swimming in their backyard.

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