Cars are submerged at the entrance to a parking garage in New York’s Financial District in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. New York City awakened Tuesday to a flooded subway system, shuttered financial markets and hundreds of thousands of people without power a day after a wall of seawater and high winds slammed into the city, destroying buildings and flooding tunnels. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Hurricane Sandy‘s deadly mix of heavy rains, winds and floodwaters proved fatal for at least 19 New Yorkers in her wake. They included an off-duty officer who drowned saving his family from rising water levels, a woman who stepped on a live wire and a 13-year old girl found under debris in her home, according to the New York Daily News
When he noticed their Staten Island house was flooding, off-duty officer Artur Kasprzak, lead his family to the upstairs attic. He then went to the basement to check for his father and never returned. 911 responders entering the basement with scuba suits were held back by live wires in the water. After the wires were removed, they entered and found Kasprzak’s body Tuesday morning.
“He went to the basement. And the water just started washing in,” said his sister Marta. “He was pushed into a window. We were up in the attic. The water just kept coming in.”
At the 1st Precinct in Lower Manhattan where Kasprzak worked, news of his death hit hard.
“It was very difficult this morning when I had to tell everyone. It’s heart-breaking, to be honest with you,” said Deputy Inspector Edward Winski, the precinct’s commanding officer. ““He was really a great guy, well-liked, very professional and hard working,”
Lauren Abraham, 23, was snapping photos of a burning power line in Richmond Hill, Queens when she stepped on a live wire. Abraham immediately fell to the ground and started burning to death. Witnesses described the horrifying scene: “Her body was burning,” said neighbor Asha Bhagaretti, 43. “It was just horrifying.”
“She was right on top of the live cables and they were just frying her,” said neighbor Renny Bhagretta, who saw Abraham burning from his house window at 134th Street. “She couldn’t move. She didn’t have a chance.”
In Tottenville, Staten Island, the 13-year-old girl found dead under debris was identified as Angela Dresch, who attended Tottenville Intermediate School. Her mother, who works in a church, is currently in critical condition at Staten Island University Hospital; her father, who is a plumber, is suspected dead.
A woman and her friend in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn were killed by a splintered tree as they walked her pitbull at the height of the storm. Jessie Streich-Kest’s body was found Tuesday morning at Ditmas Ave. and East 19th Street. Jacob Vogelman, her long-time pal, was found next to her. Kest, 24, had ignored pleas from her family to not go out during the storm.
“Her mom had said, ‘Don’t go out,’ ” said family friend Susannah Laskaris.
“She was actually a very cautious person. All I can think is the winds seemed like they were dying down.” According to the Huffington Post, the losses from the storm are estimated to be at least three times that of Irene.