An Ohio mom was killed on a birthday trip to Florida during Hurricane Ian when the storm tore down the roof of the place she was staying and a nail pierced her main artery, her family said.
Nishelle Harris-Miles traveled to Fort Myers from Dayton with three other women — her sister, her cousin and a friend — the week after she turned 40 on Sept. 23, WHIO reported.
Shortly after they arrived, the Category 4 monster slammed into the Sunshine State, where it hit Fort Myers particularly hard and tore off the roof of their room, according to WLWT.
Harris-Miles’ cousin Chanel Maston described the freakish manner in which the woman was killed.
“We strapped ourselves to each other with a sheet, laid on the mattress. That water came out that floor so fast, so quick. The roof was smashing us,” Maston told WLWT.
“We tried to kick off the roof and lay on the mattress. It kicked off that roof, so that roof wouldn’t smash us and the roof went, and we went,” the Dayton resident told the news outlet.
“We started calling people before the water really started rising,” Maston said. “We called 911. We called 211. We called everybody to get us out of there, and nobody came,” she added.
During the pandemonium, Harris-Miles was fatally struck.
“She got trapped under. A nail pierced her main artery,” Maston told the station. “She just turned 40. Sept. 23, she just turned 40. She died nine days after her birthday.”
Another cousin, Adoria Lloyd, told WHIO that the family in Ohio had just talked with Harris-Miles before tragedy struck.
“We were getting them in good spirits and we were telling them to be safe and all that. And then Wednesday, we just didn’t hear back from them,” she told the station.
Harris-Miles’ friend LaQuitta Heard, who was on the ill-fated trip, told WHIO that she “had to watch her slowly die” while they were being inundated by water amid the violent wind.
“I personally will never be the same again,” she told the outlet after returning from Florida on Saturday.
“Went for peace and came back broken, lost, confused, guilty,” Heard said.
On Sunday, the local community in Dayton held a balloon release to remember Harris-Miles.
“The children will be mostly affected. They no longer have a mother,” family friend Will Crusoe told News 2.
“She was a loving type of person, she passed love wherever she went,” he told WHIO. “She touched a lot of souls.”
On Monday, the death toll from Hurricane Ian continued to mount amid ongoing rescue and recovery efforts, with NBC upping its grim total to 87.