Dataw Island residents return home

Dataw Island residents return home
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - Beaufort County was able to return Sunday evening, but that didn't include Hilton Head Island or smaller barrier islands like Fripp and Dataw Island.

On Wednesday, access to Dataw was granted and we've seen dozens of people flooding through these gates, returning home for the first time since leaving over a week ago.

There were hundreds of trees down on the island, but fortunately, they missed most of the homes, falling on the golf course, across roads and driveways.

Dataw Island is also home to a marina, which houses about 85 boats. At least 50 of them were placed on dry land ahead of the storm, but there were still about two dozen left in the water. Once Hurricane Matthew hit the boats left the water, they actually ended up in people's yards.

We also saw huge chunks of the concrete floating dock from the marina scattered throughout people's yards as well.

During the storm, only 50 people stayed behind, with more than 1,000 evacuating, including Larry Lance. Who returned home to see his dock destroyed, the marina's dock in his yard, as well as two or three boats on the edge of his property.

A scene that took him through a roller coaster of emotions.

"I was thrilled. The staff here has done a wonderful job. It's a beautiful island I just hate to see it like this," said Lance.

That's the same reaction I got from a lot of people who returned to see their property literally become a dock.

While I was out here, Sea Tow was working to remove some of the boats from the water. But security tells me they'll be waiting for high tide to try and reach the ones on land.

As of right now, access is still limited to Fripp and Harbor Islands, you're encouraged to contact your homeowners association for reentry information.

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