The death of a 90-year-old man who died after a tree fell onto the tractor he was operating while cleaning storm debris is now Florida’s third reported fatality related to Hurricane Idalia, state officials announced Thursday.
He died Tuesday in Dixie County — raising Idalia’s death toll from two to three in the state, Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, told the Miami Herald. The date, time and location of the incident wasn’t immediately known.
Idalia, which made landfall Aug. 30, was the first major hurricane to hit Florida’s Big Bend in more than 125 years — causing widespread flooding, life-threatening storm surge and power outages throughout the region.
The state’s other two Idalia-related fatalities happened in Brevard and Alachua counties.
On Wednesday, the agency confirmed the death of a 60-year-old man who drowned while windsurfing in Brevard County waters.
Greggory Johnston was riding on a sailboard near the area of Kelly Park in Brevard’s Merritt Island on Aug. 30 when he disappeared, the local sheriff’s office said at the time. Deputies started searching for him around 7 p.m. after finding the man’s vehicle at the park — spotting his board and windsurfing sail the next morning.
The body of the Merritt Island resident was found Friday, Deputy Sheriff Tod Goodyear, a spokesman with the Brevard Sheriff’s Office, told the Herald on Wednesday.
The first death that state officials linked to Idalia occurred in Alachua County. There, the medical examiner reported to the state that a 59-year-old Gainesville resident died after his vehicle “left the runway and struck a tree,” Plessinger detailed to the Herald.
According to Florida Highway Patrol, a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck was traveling westbound on State Road 20, just east of Southeast 60th Ter., when it veered into a ditch during “extremely rainy conditions.”
“The Toyota continued through the ditch until it crashed into the nearby tree line,” highway patrol said.