Long Island couple stranded in floodwaters rescued from car's sunroof

FARMINGDALE, Long Island (WABC) -- Flood waters rose so quickly on Friday that one Long Island couple found themselves stranded under a railroad overpass on Merrits Road in Farmingdale - unable to get out.

"The water was rising pretty fast. When we first got there, the water was up to the windshield," says Farmingdale fireighter Phil LoNigro.

LoNigro was one of eight who quickly responded on the department's aerial truck. Chief Ryan Tortoso who responded first, came up with an idea to pull off the rescue.

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A couple was rescued through the sunroof of their car, trapped in rising flood water, at Merritts Road and Fulton Street in Farmingdale. Video courtesy Philip LoNigro.

"Chief Ryan Totorso thought about the pay loader first, because the area we were in was a little unlevel for the aerial to really go into. Plus, it would have been harded to get them up on the ladder," adds LoNigro.

While LoNigro was documenting the rescue on video, other firemen were able to get right up next to the car and climb on top.

"It was easier to get them out of the sunroof and put them on the pay loader," LoNigro added.

It's not as easy as you think climbing out throught the sun roof, LoNigro told Eyewitness News. It took a few minutes to get the man, who was soaked from the waist down, out and into the bucket. After the man was taken to a nearby ambulance, the woman who was in the car was then helped up and into the bucket. Both were checked out and not hospitalized.

After the successful rescue, the firefighters offered a word of caution to drivers .

"It was good to see the people get out okay and everything, but people have to realize that if you see flood waters, don't drive your cars into them," said LoNigro.

The firemen say the underpass rarely floods like this since it was redesigned several years ago.
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