Many Killed In NJ Flooding Found Trapped In Cars

Deep, swift water seems to have caught drivers off guard
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2021 12:30 PM CDT
As Many As 8 Killed In Floods Were Trapped In Their Cars
People look at a car flooded flooded as a result of the remnants of Hurricane Ida in a local street in Somerville, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

At least 25 people died in New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. The remnants of the storm dumped rain on the Northeast—as much as three inches in an hour in some areas, the Wall Street Journal reports. People in areas that got severe weather and flooding got alerts on their cellphones, but the warnings to stay indoors didn’t warn people not to get in their cars, the New York Times reports. Eight people in New Jersey were found dead in their cars—one electrocuted and one dead of a heart attack. People in cars seem to have been surprised by deep, swift water on roads, and were swept away or trapped in their cars. One man who left his car and tried to walk to safety was swept into a sewer pipe and found dead miles away.

While searching for that man, Danush Reddy, police found another man who had suffered a similar fate and survived. In Cranford, New Jersey, first responders answered 15 calls for help with stranded cars, but fortunately no deaths were reported. In another part of the state a car was found halfway buried in dirt and rocks with a man's body inside, the AP reports. In Passaic, when a car got stuck in an underpass the driver’s wife and son were rescued, but the water rapidly rose to 8 feet, and the driver, Luis Jalil-Solarzario, 70, drowned, reports. In that town alone, first responders made 200 rescues. “Everywhere we went we were pulling six, eight people from cars,” Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost said. (Read more Hurricane Ida stories.)

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