Aussie cameraman rushes to help people fleeing Hurricane Ian mid-broadcast

A 7 News cameraman abandoned his gear and ran to help people trying to move their belongings as Hurricane Ian hit Florida.

The dramatic footage was shot in Naples, Florida, where one of the most powerful storms ever recorded made landfall.

On Wednesday, Hurricane Ian flooded the streets and buildings, it knocked out the power for over 1 million people and is still threatening catastrophic damage further inland.

"A hurricane is to Americans what cyclones are to Australians," Sunrise host David Koch explained during the live cross on Thursday morning.

Seven's cameraman, Glen Ellis, ran out to help people in Naples, Florida, during a live-cross on Sunrise. Source: Sunruse/Twitter
Seven's cameraman Glen Ellis ran out to help people in Naples, Florida, during a live-cross on Sunrise. Source: Sunruse/Twitter

People are seen trudging through the waters in the background of the shot, carrying their belongings and leading small children through the torrent.

Suddenly, the cameraman puts down his camera and is seen running out to assist people. Seven's US correspondent Tim Lester explains the cameraman Glen Ellis went to help some people through the water.

Ellis is seen taking belongings off a woman with a small child and walking the items over to where it wasn't completely flooded. He then runs back out into the flooded street to help more people.

Lester said they had already spoken to a few locals around Naples who said their homes were already gone.

He explained where they had set up was where people in Naples were coming to escape the worst of the flooding.

There's footage coming out of Naples showing homes floating down the street, along with debris.

Quite a few people praised Ellis for rushing out to help, branding him as a "legend".

"This is how you do it. Shout out to the reporter for verbally supporting the guy's decision to drop camera & go help," someone remarked on Twitter.

Some, however, thought the whole scenario was staged.

Fears worst is 'yet to come'

Before Ian hit, around 2.5 million people were told to evacuate, but no one was obliged by law to do so.

As the hurricane came in from the Gulf of Mexico, Mark Pritchett, from Venice on Florida's Gulf Coast, was terrified.

"I literally couldn’t stand against the wind,” Pritchett wrote in a text message to the Associated Press.

“Rain shooting like needles. My street is a river. Limbs and trees down. And the worst is yet to come"

Sail boats anchored in Roberts Bay are blown around by 50 mph winds in Venice, Florida, as Hurricane Ian approaches the West Coast of Florida
Hurricane Ian has smashed the west coast of Florida, leaving people without power and some without homes. Source: El Nuevo Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Another Gulf local headed to his office in Venice with his employees and vets. Jackson Boone said at one point he opened the door and the wind was howling, the rain was flying sideways.

“We’re seeing tree damage, horizontal rain, very high wind,” Boone said by phone.

“We have a 50-plus-year-old oak tree that has toppled over.”

In Naples, where the Sunrise crew were filming, the fire station was inundated with about one metre of water, with firefighters needing to salvage gear from a firetruck.

Collier County, where Naples is located, has imposed a curfew from 10pm to 6am.

"There is much unknown left to face with rising waters, debris in roads and many people have evacuated their homes and businesses," the sheriff's office said.

"We do not want criminals preying on our residents and businesses at one of the most vulnerable times in their life."

Collier County Sheriff's Office said there had been a number of calls from people who were trapped by water in their homes.

Naples Fire Department was inundated with water. Source: Naples Fire-Rescue Department/Facebook
Naples Fire Department was inundated with water. Source: Naples Fire-Rescue Department/Facebook

Residents told to seek shelter ahead of 'nasty' few days

The Category 4 storm slammed the coast with 241 km/ph winds and pushed a wall of storm surge accumulated during its slow march over the Gulf.

More than 1.1 million Florida homes and businesses were without electricity. The storm previously tore into Cuba, killing two people and bringing down the country’s electrical grid.

A woman gets help climbing from a muddy area in Tampa, Florida, United States on September 28, 2022.
Ian is packing maximum sustained winds of 24kph bringing mass devastation to parts of Florida. Source: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

It's expected the hurricane will weaken to a tropical storm as it heads inland, however hurricane force winds are expected to be felt well into central Florida.

Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis has urged people to stay out of Ian's path and rush to shelter, saying it will be a "nasty" few days.

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