Toddler among at least 40 dead after Ida slams NY, NJ with historic flooding

Local News

NEW YORK — At least 41 people have died, including a 2-year-old boy, across New York City and New Jersey when Ida brought the region record-breaking rainfall and historic flooding Wednesday night.

A flash flood emergency was issued for New York City for the first time ever, according to the National Weather Service. It was only the second time ever that the weather service had issued such an alert for our region, with the first being for northeast New Jersey just an hour prior.

New York City

In New York City, a toddler was among 13 killed in the dangerous flooding.

Police said officers responded around 10 p.m. to a 911 call for flooding in the basement apartment of a building at the corner of 64th Street and Laurel Hill Boulevard in the Woodside area of Queens.

Responding officers found three family members unconscious and unresponsive, including a 50-year-old man, 48-year-old woman and a 2-year-old boy, officials said. They were all pronounced dead at the scene.

Police on Friday identified the family as toddler Lobsang Ang, his mother, Mingma Sherpa, and father, Ang Lama.

Their upstairs neighbor, Deborah Torres, said water rapidly filled her own first-floor Queens apartment to her knees as their landlord frantically urged her neighbors below to get out. But the water was rushing in so strongly that she surmised they weren’t able to open the door.

“I have no words,” she said. “How can something like this happen?”

Around 10:40 p.m., police responded to a call for flooding in a basement unit at an apartment complex in the Forest Hills area of Queens, the NYPD said.

Upon arrival, officers discovered 48-year-old Darlene Hsu unconscious and unresponsive, police said. She was taken by EMS to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Water filled the sunken patio of the basement apartment, then broke through a glass door and rushed in, trapping the 48-year-old woman in 6 feet of water. Neighbors unsuccessfully tried for an hour to save her.

“She was screaming, ‘Help me, help me, help me!’ We all came to her aid, trying to get her out. But it was so strong – the thrust of the water was so strong,” said the building’s assistant superintendent, Jayson Jordan.

Officials said cops responded at approximately 11:15 p.m. for flooding in a basement apartment on 183rd Street near 90th Avenue, in Jamaica, Queens. They found two victims, believed to be a mother and her adult son.

Phamatee Ramskriet, 43, was pronounced dead after being taken to an area hospital. Khrishah Ramskriet, 22, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Around 11:30 p.m. in Brooklyn, cops responded to reports of flooding in a basement apartment at the corner of Ridgewood and Autumn avenues, in the Cypress Hills section, police said.

Officers found Roberto Bravo, 66, unconscious within the home before on-scene EMS pronounced him dead at the scene, according to authorities.

Just before midnight, officers responded to a 911 call for flooding on 84th Street in Queens. They found Yue Lian Chen, 86, unconscious and unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The Medical Examiner will determine her cause of death.

The ninth victim was discovered late Thursday morning. The victim’s body was found in the backseat of a vehicle that had crashed on the Grand Central Parkway, according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.

“We pray that the number does not go up from there,” Shea said.

Unfortunately, it did.

FDNY units responded to Peck Avenue in Flushing around 11:40 a.m. for reports of people underwater. A landlord found multiple bodies in a flooded basement. Three storm-related deaths were confirmed.

Officials also responded to 25th Street and Third Avenue in Brooklyn for reports of a drowning. A body was found floating between the docks, FDNY officials said.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul shared an update with the PIX11 Morning News on Thursday on storm cleanup progress, transit disruptions and more:

Westchester County

As of Friday, at least two storm-related deaths had been confirmed in Westchester County, according to Gov. Hochul. The Associated Press had previously reported three Westchester deaths.

Samuel Weissmandl, 69, called family on Wednesday night and told them he was having trouble driving in the storm, officials said. His submerged vehicle was found on an entrance ramp to the northbound Saw Mill River Parkway. Police found his body near Route 119 in Elmsford.

Bronx resident Alan Dorsainvil, 33, was found dead in his car Thursday morning in Mount Vernon, the city said Friday. A person walking by found the man unconscious in his vehicle on South Columbus Avenue, officials said.

Authorities believe he drove into deep standing water in the road and his car became inoperable. As the flood water rose, Dorsainvil likely became trapped in his vehicle, which quickly filled with water, the city said. His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner.

New Jersey

At least 25 people have died in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday.

“While the weather may be good, and while the flood waters may have receded, we’re still not out of the woods,” Murphy said, noting ongoing flooding threats.

The governor also said there were still six people missing since Ida rolled through.

Of the 25 fatalities, one was reported in Bergen County, four in Essex County, six in Hunterdon County, one in Mercer, one in Passaic, three in Middlesex, four in Somerset and five in Union, according preliminary data Gov. Murphy released.

Of the Essex County fatalities, County Executive Joe DiVincenzo Jr. said Friday one was located in Maplewood and two were in Irvington. He did not identify the location of the fourth fatality. One person was reported missing in Essex County.

According to Murphy, most of the deaths were caused by flooding. None were caused by the tornadoes that touched down in the state.

“The majority of these deaths were individuals who got caught in their vehicles by flooding and were overtaken by the water,” Murphy had previously said.

An Elizabeth spokesperson confirmed to the New York Times five people were found dead in Elizabeth, including two men and two women located in an apartment complex across the street from a flooded firehouse.

Neighbors described hearing screaming from the complex at about 11 p.m. as water flowed down the street, pushing dumpsters and cars around.

“Sandy had nothing on this,” resident Jennifer Vilchez said, referring to 2012′s Superstorm Sandy.

Greg Turner, who lives in another part of the city, said his 87-year-old mother started calling 911 from the complex at 8 p.m. when the water started rising in her apartment. He said he and his brother tried to rush to her rescue, but the water was too high.

By close to midnight, the water was up to her neck, he said. Rescuers finally were able to cut through the floor of the apartment above and pull her to safety.

“She lost everything,” Turner said as he headed to a bank to get money to buy his mother some clothes and shoes.

In Passaic, Mayor Hector C. Lora said in an interview with CNN that a 70-year-old man was killed after being swept under a car by flood waters Wednesday night.

According to the mayor, the car had driven beyond a barricade set up by authorities and became stranded.

Three people were in the vehicle and emergency responders were able to rescue two of them, however the older man was unable to be saved, Lora said.

Elsewhere in New Jersey, flooding killed two people in Hillsborough, two in Bridgewater, and one in Milford Borough, where authorities found a man’s body a car buried up to its hood in dirt and rocks, authorities said.

None of the victims had been identified as of early Thursday morning, pending family notification.

Medical examiners will determine the exact cause of death for each victim, officials said.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy toured some of the storm damage in his state Thursday morning:

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