Atkins carried the nurse on his back while wading through the floodwaters and he also held her purse the whole way.
Hurricane Ian's destruction is causing distress to many people as they become stranded and struggle to get to safety. Amid the chaos, a nurse was trapped in her car when the vehicle got stuck in strong floodwater currents. According to USA TODAY, Tony Atkins, a reporter for Orlando's NBC station WESH 2, was covering Hurricane Ian when his photographer saw "a big push, surge of water coming up." Atkins added, "That's when I saw the car that got stuck and I saw a hand come out and heard 'Help!"'
My colleague, Tony Atkins, just did this! Incredible. I also love how he carried her purse the whole way too. https://t.co/X9XY0fTGs0— Marlei Martinez WESH (@MarleiMartinez) September 29, 2022
The woman was on her way to work and she cried out for assistance as the swirling floodwater got closer to her car windows. Atkins jumped to the woman's rescue as soon as he realized what was happening. He carried her from her trapped car on his back through the surging floodwaters. In the video, Atkins could be seen near the car in a red raincoat and holding the nurse's bag as she climbed onto his back to avoid the water. After the event, in an interview, Atkins explained to WESH 2 what was going through his mind when he saved the nurse. "Rain was coming down and water was flowing down this hill. At that moment, we were turning a number of cars around. Several cars either didn't notice or tried their own luck."
During our live coverage, our reporter @TonyAtkinsTV stopped to save a woman who got stuck in some heavy flooding. "I just had to." What a hero! pic.twitter.com/yEuNhD9EqW— Caelan Dooley (@caelandooley) September 29, 2022
Before diving into the waist-deep water to bring her to safety, he made sure there was no danger in the water. "I looked around for crocodiles, power lines or debris; or anyone from law enforcement that could help the woman. But no one was there, it was so dark and she asked for help. I did not know her status so I just decided to use caution and slowly make my way out. I put her on my back and brought her."
"She did not seem concerned about the car but seemed more concerned about getting to work as a nurse and saving lives. I'm just glad that she could get home safely," he shared. Later on Thursday morning, Atkins tweeted that the nurse had arrived at work. The nurse's daughter explained that she was extremely grateful to Atkins as her mother's "job as a nurse hung in the balance." Atkins posted the touching and appreciative response from the daughter alongside the tweet, sharing the screenshot with the caption, "So glad things worked out."
🙏🏽— Tony Atkins (@TonyAtkinsTV) September 29, 2022
Our woman from early this morning made it to work. Her job as a nurse hung in the balance, according to her daughter. I got this message from her daughter today! So glad things worked out. #NoCarNoProblem pic.twitter.com/8yBHaGY8jI
Atkins' former employer, Tom Durian of TMJ4 News in Milwaukee, praised the reporter's "heroic efforts" on Twitter. Additionally, Durian uploaded a video of Atkins' previous TMJ4 newsroom cheering as they watched the footage of his heroic rescue of the nurse.
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, knocking out electricity to almost 2.6 million people while damaging houses, businesses, bridges, vehicles, and boats. Ian may have been the worst hurricane in the history of Florida. The storm, which lashed Florida with strong winds and rain, is predicted to move toward Georgia and the Carolinas in the next several days. As of Thursday afternoon, at least 13 persons had been confirmed killed in counties in Florida; this figure is anticipated to climb.
Hats off to former @tmj4 News reporter @TonyAtkinsTV for his heroic efforts this morning near Orlando rescuing a nurse stranded in her car by flood waters. #TMJ4Today #HurricaneIan Courtesy: WESH-TV pic.twitter.com/rKm1JClQeb— Tom Durian (@TMJ4Tom) September 29, 2022
This is a developing story, and we’ll update you as we learn more. Information about Hurricane Ian is swiftly changing, and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. You can get official alerts and updates on Hurricane Ian from the National Hurricane Center.