Fort Myers man rode out Hurricane Ian on boat for 12 hours

Andrew Woeck lived on a 54-foot yacht docked at a Fort Myers marina. After flying back into town shortly before Hurricane Ian arrived, he thought he could ride it out.

Woeck admitted he regretted that decision almost immediately. The winds began to pick up as Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida.

Soon after Woeck’s boat began to sink.

“My boat started going down, so I jumped, I couldn’t jump left I had to jump to the dock and ran as far as I could to the first boat on the dock,” he said.

Woeck made his way to a boat closer to the marina. Shortly before, he managed to make contact with his girlfriend, but lost connection.

He would ride out the storm in the wind and rain for close to 12 hours.

Woeck said he thought he would not make it out alive.

“At that point when the buzzers started going, I didn’t think I would talk to them again,” he said.

Woeck took some cell phone video during the storm, including video of his boat being thrown around in the water, as well as the docks and boats crashing into one another.

The next morning he helped other men who had survived the storm on sailboats.

His loved ones tried finding him, yelling his name, but ultimately having no luck. For the 12 hours he could not make contact with anyone, he got the attention of a man in a nearby hotel window using a light. They spoke briefly on a satellite phone.

Woeck managed to get to his car, which was still working, and drove to safety after the storm passed.

Hurricane Ian devastated southwest Florida, with the death toll expected to rise. FEMA reports around 4,000 people have been rescued.Andrew Woeck got up an up close and personal view of Hurricane Ian.

He made the regrettable decision to ride out the storm on his boat, which was docked at a Fort Myers marina.

Woeck told Local 10 News’ Bridgette Matter he knew almost immediately that he made the wrong choice, but by then it was too late.

“The storm was looking like it was going to hit Sarasota or Tampa,” he said.

Once the wind began picking up in speed, Woeck had to think fast.

“My boat started going down, so I jumped,” he explained. “I couldn’t jump left, I had to jump to the dock and ran as far as I could to the first boat on the dock.”

Woeck’s boat now sits submerged. Other boats at the marina have been tossed on top of one another.

It’s a miracle Woeck survived.

He was able to make contact with his girlfriend shortly before losing service.

“The last moment I got to talk to my girlfriend was when the boat started to sink,” Woeck said.

He ended up riding out the storm for close to 12 hours.

“I was on the phone with somebody at that point when the buzzers started going, I didn’t think I’d talk to them again,” Woeck said.

The next morning, he helped another man to safety who survived on a sailboat.

At daybreak they found the boats at the marina destroyed.

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