Search Starts for Ike’s Victims in Texas
Local authorities have started searching for the estimated 140,000 people who remained in path of Hurricane Ike, The Associated Press reports this afternoon.
State and local officials began searching for survivors by late morning, just hours after Ike roared ashore at Galveston with 110 mph winds, heavy rains and towering waves. Overnight, dispatchers received thousands of calls from frightened residents who bucked mandatory orders to leave as the storm closed in.
Authorities were frustrated, but vowed to get to the more than 140,000 people who stubbornly stayed behind as soon as they could.
“This is a democracy,” said Mark Miner, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry. “Local officials who can order evacuations put out very strong messages. Gov. Perry put out a very strong warning. But you can’t force people to leave their homes. They made a decision to ride out the storm. Our prayers are with them.”
Sedonia Owen, 75, and her son, Lindy McKissick, defied evacuation orders in Galveston because they wanted to protect their neighborhood from possible looters. She was watching floodwaters recede from her front porch Saturday morning, armed with a shotgun.
“My neighbors told me, ‘You’ve got my permission. Anybody who goes into my house, you can shoot them,'” said Owen.