NYPD releases video of officers wading into flooded Queens apartment building where family died

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Monday, September 6, 2021
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The video from one officer's body camera shows another officer first reaching into the opaque water and then dipping under the surface.

WOODSIDE, Queens (WABC) -- The NYPD released video showing officers wading into floodwater inside a Queens building as they worked to gain access to a basement apartment where a family of three was later found dead.

The video from one officer's body camera shows another officer first reaching into the opaque water and then dipping under the surface.

He's then quickly pulled back up by the other officer and appears to be frustrated.

The officers were attempting to get into a basement apartment at a building on 64th Street in Woodside Wednesday night as heavy rainfall from Hurricane Ida's remnants deluged the Tri-State and caused widespread flash flooding.

The officers were trying to rescue 50-year-old Ang Gelu Lama, 48-year-old Mingma Sherpa and their 2-year old son who lived in the apartment.

On Twitter, the NYPD said "locked doors, rising water level & live electricity forced the officers to call for the" FDNY.

When the FDNY's specialized units arrived, they found the three of them dead.

A neighbor says the street floods often, and there was work underway that was supposed to fix the flooding problem.

"The purpose of the construction was to make sure this doesn't happen," a neighbor said. "They took the whole block apart, but obviously city planning didn't make it work."

A similar tragedy occurred in the Cyprus Hills section of Brooklyn.

"I saw the body come out -- I was still holding onto hope maybe somehow he was ok," Lenin Bravo said.

The images are haunting. The ceiling shows just how high the water was. More than 10 feet rushed down the stairs and filled the Brooklyn basement.

One room had no windows and only had one way out. In the dark, it's where Roberto Bravo lived and died.

The victim's son, Lenin Bravo, talked to Eyewitness News about what happened to his dad.

"What hurts me the most is he had time to contemplate what was about to happen, if he couldn't get out of there," Bravo said.

The father of three was trapped.

Lenin believes the city failed on many levels.

"I don't want to hear global warming, I want to hear the action plan, what we are going to do," Bravo said.

On Saturday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a request for Major Disaster Declaration following the devastation from remnants of Ida.

Once approved, the declaration would deliver individual and public assistance to New Yorkers impacted by Ida.

Bravo vows to do everything he can so that no other family has to go through what he has.

"Someone shouldn't have to die for the city to start making changes," he said.

RELATED | Garage collapse sends car toppling into neighboring apartments in Inwood


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