'What a hero': TV reporter rescues nurse who was trapped in Hurricane Ian floodwaters

MILWAUKEE – A reporter is being hailed a hero during his station's storm coverage in Florida.

While covering Hurricane Ian, Tony Atkins – a reporter for WESH 2 News in the Orlando, Florida, area – rescued a woman from her car stuck in high floodwaters.

The woman, a nurse, was on her way to work early Thursday and attempted to drive through the flooding caused by the hurricane, according to a WESH 2 report.

Atkins held the woman's purse for her as she finished crawling out of her car's window and onto his back, the video shows. The waters were at least to Atkins' waist.

With the purse still in hand, Atkins waded the two of them through the flooding. And when he got to a place where the water was only submerging his feet, he let her down.

Later Thursday morning, Atkins shared on Twitter that the nurse made it to work. "Her job as a nurse hung in the balance, according to her daughter," his tweet said.

The daughter sent a heartfelt and grateful message to Atkins, which he also included in his post.

"So glad things worked out," he said in the tweet.

The WESH 2 reporter said there were no law enforcement or others in the area who could help as her vehicle was stuck, explaining "I just used caution, and I just decided to slowly make my way out there and just help her out."

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"I'm just glad she got home safe," he added.

After the rescue, Atkins was quickly celebrated on social media.

Hurricane Ian regained hurricane status Thursday after being downgraded into a tropical storm. The storm blasted Florida with heavy rains and winds, and it is expected to make its way towards Georgia and the Carolinas in the coming days.

At least 13 people were reported dead in counties in Florida by Thursday afternoon, a number that is expected to rise. More than 2.6 million Florida homes and businesses were without power on Thursday.

Contributing: Marina Pitofsky, John Bacon, Jorge L. Ortiz and Celina Tebor, USA TODAY

Contact Hannah Kirby at hannah.kirby@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HannahHopeKirby.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Hurricane Ian: Florida reporter Tony Atkins saves nurse from floods