FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – On Thursday, Hurricane Irma continued her charge towards Florida. At the same time, a full flight from Punta Gorda, Fla. landed in Fort Wayne.
Many on board were evacuating their home, and it was one of the last flights out of the area.
Punta Gorda is near Fort Meyers on the Gulf side of Florida. The flight to Fort Wayne International Airport was the last one out of the Punta Gorda airport before it closed because of the approaching storm
“I’m just glad he’s on his way home.,” Jeanette Cronkite said.
“I’ll be glad to get him here, give him a hug, and say ‘okay you’re with me now,'” Shelly Ellis said.
Jeanette Cronkite and Shelly Ellis both traveled to FWA from Michigan to pick up loved ones evacuating their homes on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Ellis’ father and Cronkite’s partner were both on the last flight from Punta Gorda.
“He was very nervous, very upset about leaving,” Ellis said. “People don’t want to leave their area or their homeland.
Cronkite’s partner, Kenneth Rollins, was down cleaning up their home in North Fort Meyers. It sustained some water damage from Harvey.
“We lost furniture on the lanai, but it’s just one of those things,” Cronkite said. “Glad it wasn’t worse.”
Now Hurricane Irma heads their way.
“I was down there just on vacation, typical vacation,” David Clark said.
Luck was with Bluffton resident David Clark when he was planning his trip to Marco Island, Florida.
“This was our original return [flight],” Clark said. “Luckily it was because all flights were booked and gone.”
Hurricane Irma has sustained 185 mile per hour winds as it continues its path. It’s already devastated several Caribbean Islands. It’s making its way to the coast of Florida.. putting a lot of southern Florida in its path.
Several larger airports are following in the steps of the one in Punta Gorda. Fort Meyers Airport plans to close Friday.
“I’m thankful I’m home,” Clark said.
Ellis said she has not booked her father a plane ticket back to Florida just yet. Cronkite and Rollins plan to return in October.