Elderly Florida couple trapped in attic rescued from flood by firefighter on a jet ski


An elderly Florida couple spent hours trapped in the attic of their home with their two dogs as Hurricane Sally floodwaters rose inside.

Before seeking refuge under the roof, they spraypainted "IN ATTIC HELP" on their front door in big blue letters.

For two hours, no one came. The situation for Jack Hulgan, 84, and his wife Elaine, 76, was getting desperate when a firefighter on a Jet Ski finally stopped.

The hurricane swept through the Hulgans' community of Cantonment, Fla., a suburb just north of Pensacola, on Wednesday morning, causing massive flooding, destruction and power outages.

Unable to get through calling 911, the couple took shelter in the attic, watching with dread as water poured into their living room, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

Related: Hurricane Sally washes away Panhandle roads, bridges

They told The Associated Press that they could hear rescue vehicles passing their house.

“When they kept going by and not seeing us, I told Jack, ‘Are the four of us going to die in this house?’” Elaine Hulgan said.

“We were just scared. And Jack said, ‘We’ll just go back in the attic and stay there.’ I said, ’Jack, I don’t want to die in the attic. And he said, ‘We aren’t going to die.’”


Jack Hulgan made his way back to the front door and whistled – catching the ear of the firefighter on the Jet Ski.

He called for a raft to retrieve the couple and their dogs.

They were taken to safety. Now the couple that has been flooded twice before goes to work filing claims and looking for temporary housing.

But first, after the floodwater receded, they returned to survey the damage. By the door with the blue letters, they shared a kiss.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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