Hurricane Michael leaves 17 dead and authorities intensify the search for the deceased

Hurricane Michael leaves 17 dead and authorities intensify the search for the deceased

Héctor Morales, a 57-year-old cook who lives in Mexico Beach, the "zero zone" of Hurricane Michael, never thought about evacuating despite warnings of the arrival of the storm. As he told the AP, he grew up in Puerto Rico, where "you learn how to survive a storm."

His mobile home was not on the beach, but behind it was a canal with boat docks that overflowed as the hurricane passed.

When the storm touched down, his house began to float: "The water came so fast that it began to get everywhere," he told AP sitting on a broken ladder on top of a mattress and other debris. "I had about 3 feet (almost one meter) of water in my house. That's when I decided to jump. "

Then, Morales went out a window of his house to the roof of his car and saw two neighbors who were also trying to weather the storm. The man swam and clung to a pole before helping the couple to hold on. Together they advanced to a fishing boat tied to a palm tree, where the three got into.

The Puerto Rican left his neighbors in a bathroom under the deck of the boat and he stayed in the captain's seat. There they stayed for six hours until the winds calmed down and the waters dropped: "I lost everything: my clothes, my wallet, credit cards," he said. "But I did it."

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