Hawkins County man finds out daughter is safe in the Florida Keys after Irma


Editor’s Note: Pete’s last name is Costantino.

SURGOINSVILLE, TN (WJHL) – Thursday night a Hawkins County man got the news he’d been waiting to hear for days.

Pete Costantino says his daughter Mandi rode out Hurricane Irma on Sugarloaf Key in the Florida Keys.

“She said there’s water coming in, it’s just coming in like there’s no roof,” those were some of the last words Costantino heard from his daughter, Mandi Disdier, as Hurricane Irma’s eye passed over her.

He was trying to calm her down but he wasn’t able to finish his thought.

“She started to say something and that’s when the connection got lost,” Costantino said.

He said the emotions going through his mind were hard to express and he felt helplessness and hopelessness.

After that call went dead, he couldn’t reach Mandi for days.

But Tuesday morning a neighbor told him about aerial footage of Sugarloaf Key online.

CNN aerial footage showed Mandi’s home, Costantino immediately recognized it.

“That’s the only picture I have of the house but it let me know she was safe or should be safe,” Costantino said.

Then, Thursday, even better news came along after a visit to the local branch of the American Red Cross. An employee there wanted to help Costantino after he shared what happened.    

“She said I’m really good at finding people, she said if your daughter is out there I will try and locate her,” Costantino said.

Two hours later, Costantino got a call.

“Your daughter’s sister in law got word that Mandy was okay,” he said.

When News Channel 11’s Justin Soto asked him what he would say to his daughter if he could, Costantino said he’d tell her he loved her and that he’ll be down to Florida.

Costantino said he was in touch with FEMA, the Coast Guard, and the American Red Cross. He said he didn’t hear back from the Monroe County, FL Sheriff’s Office.

Costantino hopes to get down to Sugarloaf Key as soon as the roads re-open to be reunited with his daughter, Mandi. He added that she also has a house in Arizona where he is originally from.Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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