3 NJ officers swept away by Ida floodwaters rescued: officials

New Jersey
Tropical Weather New Jersey

People take a look at the 206 route partially flooded as a result of the remnants of Hurricane Ida in Somerville, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Three New Jersey officers who were responding to a rescue mission Wednesday night were swept away by Ida’s floodwaters and had to be rescued themselves.

Officers responded to a call of a stranded motorist along Route 518, east of Route 31, in Hopewell Township, officials said. 

While Officer James Hoffman responded and attempted to rescue the motorist, his vehicle swept sideways and was lifted by the rising waters of Stony Brook, according to township authorities.

He was able to escape the vehicle through a window and traveled about 100 yards in the water before he was able to grab onto a tree, officials said.

Officers Michael Makwinski and Robert Voorhees attempted to reach Hoffman, but eventually found themselves in the same situation. 

All three officers held onto trees for about two hours before they were rescued, Hopewell Township officials said.

Two officers were taken to the hospital where they were examined and released.

Remnants of Ida battered the tri-state region, causing severe flooding and record-breaking rainfall.

At least 40 people died in New York City and New Jersey, including a 2-year-old boy.

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for New York and New Jersey after remnants of Ida hammered the tri-state area, causing significant disruption to major population centers.

Gov. Phil Murphy also announced $10 million in relief would be provided for small businesses in the state impacted by the storm.

The storm’s rainy remains hit the Northeast with surprising fury on Wednesday and Thursday, submerging cars, swamping subway stations and basement apartments and drowning scores of people in five states.

Intense rain overwhelmed urban drainage systems never meant to handle so much water in such a short time — a record 3 inches in just an hour in New York.

Even after clouds gave way to blue skies, some rivers and streams were still rising. Part of the swollen Passaic River in New Jersey wasn’t expected to crest until Friday night.

Ida stands as the deadliest hurricane in the U.S. in four years.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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