Family mourns Ohio mom who was killed when a ‘nail pierced her main artery’ after roof collapsed during birthday trip to Florida

An Ohio woman traveling to Florida to celebrate a milestone birthday was one of at least 101 American victims killed by devastating Hurricane Ian, the Category 4 storm that swept through the Caribbean and American South in late September swept. She died from injuries sustained in the winds and torrential rains caused the roof of the house she lived in to collapse.

Nishelle Harris-Miles traveled to Fort Myers with her cousin Chantel Maston and two other women for some fun in the sun after her 40th birthday. The group arrived from Dayton, Ohio, as the storm approached with plans for the ultimate girls’ getaway, but inclement weather prevented them from doing much more than staying safe at the Airbnb, according to the Daily Mail.

Tuesday, September 27, was the last time they spoke to family members, a day before the storm made landfall near Fort Myers in southwest Florida, the state’s hardest-hit region.

As the ladies took cover, the roof caved in and collapsed on Harris-Miles, with a nail from the structure piercing a major artery in her heart.

Harris-Miles, whose nickname was Nene, celebrated her life on Friday September 23, and lost it less than a week later on Thursday September 29.

Maston explained, “We strapped in with a sheet that was laid on top of the mattress. The water came out of the ground so fast, so fast. The roof killed us. We tried to push off the roof and lay down on the mattress. It threw the roof off so the roof wouldn’t smash us, and the roof came off and we went.”

The experience was captured on Facebook Live, showing her “friends” and “followers” the water as it began pouring rapidly into the room.

The cousin said: “We started calling people before the water really started to rise. We called 911. We called 211. We called everyone to get us out of there and nobody came.”

Suddenly, another part of the roof collapsed, injuring Harris-Miles.

The cousin shared with WLWT how the tragedy unfolded.

“She got trapped under it. A nail pierced her main artery,” Maston revealed. “She just turned 40. She just turned 40 on September 23.”

LaQuitta Heard, who was also on the trip, told WHIO TV 7, “Went for the peace and came back broken, lost, confused, guilty… Personally, I will never be the same again.”

“I had to watch her slowly die as we surfaced in 18 feet of water with winds of 167 miles per hour,” Heard said, before sharing, “Words cannot explain” what she and the other women went through.

The group was stuck inside with their body for 12 to 14 hours before being rescued and most were able to travel home the next day, Friday 30 September.

Harris-Miles’ body remained in Florida.

A balloon launch was set up in Harris-Miles’ honor at her home in Dayton on Sunday, October 2, according to a post by her daughter on Facebook.

As of Monday, more than a hundred people have died from the storm. In Lee County, Florida, 54 people were killed, according to Sheriff Carmine Marceno. Charlotte County, Florida, reported 24 victims, while eight people lived in Collier County, five in Volusia County, three in Sarasota County, two in Manatee County, and one each in Lake, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, and Polk counties in Florida. They have lost their lives, reports CNN. The storm also caused deaths in the Carolinas. Family mourns Ohio mom who was killed when a ‘nail pierced her main artery’ after roof collapsed during birthday trip to Florida

James Brien

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