A Fort Myers Beach man known as the “Beach Pirate” was remembered as a hero after he ran back to his flooded home in Southeast Florida to rescue his girlfriend and dog from the hurricane Ian.
Daymon Utterback, 54, died after helping his girlfriend and their Yorkshire mix, Peanut, to safety. Both survived the storm.
Utterback, who worked as a mechanical engineer, was known for his legendary pirate outfits and his resemblance to Johnny Depp’s character Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series. His friend, Michael Yost, who is now mourning the loss of two friends, said Utterback will be missed.
“We have a few pirate guys,” Yost said. “But he was the real thing.”
Utterback often obtained his pirate costume at auction and had several key items from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, including a ring, sword and sash that Depp wore in the films, Yost said . He said Utterback recently paid $500 for a new pair of boots to complete the outfit.
“Mayor of Fort Myers Beach”:“It was just a part of so many people’s lives,” recalls the welcoming Fort Myers Beach man
Viral Cat Rescue:Naples man who went viral for cat rescue from hurricane now raises funds for displaced pets
Utterback was known as “Captain Jack” because when he put on the suit, he looked like the Jack Sparrow character, Yost said, adding that they would both dress up.
Yost said if he was doing anything at the beach, it was with his girlfriend, Utterback or Mitch Pacyna, known as the “Mayor of Fort Myers Beach,” who also died during the storm.
“There was a great loss to this community,” he said, “Now it’s just an empty, empty place in this community.”
“I couldn’t catch it”
Yost remained on the island during the storm and said when he saw where the water was from his home, several blocks from Utterback, he became concerned.
“I couldn’t catch him,” Yost said. “That was the moment I thought, ‘Oh my God.'”
Then Yost began to think that no one below where he was could possibly be alive, he said. The next morning, he went looking and found his friend’s body hanging from a window.
According to Florida medical examiner records, Utterback tried to climb out a window during the storm and got trapped.
After that encounter, Yost said he ran over and found that Pacyna’s wife and Utterback’s girlfriend and the dogs survived the hurricane.
Yost said Utterback’s girlfriend planned to bury him in his pirate outfit.
Belinda Hadcock, who runs the Skeleton Crew Entertainment group at the Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival and has spent time with Utterback in the past, said she was shocked to hear of his death.
“Daymon was a beloved part of the pirate community,” Hadcock said.
Tomas Rodriguez is a breaking/live news reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press, part of the USA TODAY Network.