Viral Video: Camera That's Rolling Literally Goes Underwater as Storm Surge Sweeps Through Streets


A camera mounted 8 feet off the ground went viral Wednesday as Hurricane Ian’s storm surge sent water pouring into a Florida neighborhood, eventually submerging the device.

The News-Press, which covers Southwest Florida, said the camera was one of several set up from Port Charlotte to Punta Gorda and Sanibel Island by Kory Hartman for his YouTube channel, Severe Studios.

Hartman scored more than 930,000 views with his live stream of the hurricane’s actions as it ripped apart houses and businesses and flooded a broad swath of the state.

But for a time, much of the attention was on Estero Boulevard in Fort Myers Beach, where a device Hartman labeled SG 9 made a valiant effort at becoming The Little Camera That Could.

“SG 9 at Fort Myers Beach is still going even with waters pounding it, with debris hitting it,” Hartman said at one point during the stream, the News-Press reported.

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But the water in the street continued to rise higher and higher.

“Oh my goodness, nine is almost completely underwater,” Hartman said, according to the News-Press. “I think we have gone almost completely underwater. Oh yeah, we’re only going to get glimpses now on nine.”

Viewers sent mock sympathy notes after the Brave Little Camera finally went offline, the outlet reported. Remarks included “RIP Cam 9. Thank you for your service” and “Cam 9 went 6 rounds with a heavyweight. Much respect.”

One viewer with the handle “wick hunt” even composed “The Ballad of Number 9,” which lamented, in part:

The storm surge rose higher, the waves did splash
But the plucky camera did nothing but laugh.
Till saltwater rose above its lens
And the camera circuit board was never again.
All across the web, its story spread,
The cam stood [its] ground till it was dead

A Weather Channel post with the clip got 5 million views in six hours, according to the News-Press:

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Twitter users also shared footage of what they claimed was a shark swimming in one Florida neighborhood:

The News-Press said the video, which received around 13 million views, raised questions and drew comments from many questioning its legitimacy.

The outlet tracked the video to Dominic Cameratta, who said he filmed the scene Wednesday at his home near a lake in the Devonwood community in South Fort Myers.

“While the video is real, whether or not a shark was caught on camera remains unclear,” the News-Press reported.

“Rick Bartleson, a marine scientist at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation … told [a media newswire service] based on the shape of its dorsal fin, he was doubtful that the animal was either a shark or sawfish.”

CORRECTION, Oct. 3, 2022: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect reference to the height of the camera taken from a tweet by Mike Bettes of The Weather Channel. Bettes corrected himself with a new tweet on Sept. 29 saying it had been mounted 8 feet off the ground. The story has been updated with the new tweet included.

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Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.
Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.