hurricane Ida: Video shows how man missed being crushed by seconds as floodwaters take out a wall


A man narrowly avoided being crushed by a wall in his home taken out by hurricane Ida floodwaters, astonishing video has shown.

The basement of the Valle family’s New Jersey home had already filled with shin-deep water when one of Janice Valle’s sons waded through and up the stairs.

A matter of seconds later, floodwaters from Ida burst through the basement’s outer wall, tearing it down and filling the entire basement with water and debris.

Pictured: Hurricane Ida flood waters burst through the basement wall of a New Jersey family’s home. Janice Valle’s son was lucky to escape the waters taking the wall down

But the narrow escape was not the end of the family’s woes, with Janice Valle telling NBC New York that the floodwater trapped her and another of her sons inside the basement where they had been trying to empty the water.

‘My son called his father to say goodbye to him, he thought he was going to die,’ she told the news network on Friday. 

The son seen in the terrifying camera footage captured on a security camera inside the basement was able to make it up the stairs to safety without injury.

The footage shows the son casually walking through the flood basement towards the stairs, shortly before the basement wall on the far-side from the camera buckles.

Water is then shown flooding through, sending a table up against the wall flying into the middle of the room, stopped only by two support pillars.

Within seconds the basement is totally flooded, with sofas, a TV and other objects shown being thrown around by the water that is now much deeper.

‘Thank god he made it to the stairs because the wall caved in and the water came in and would have crushed him,’ the Cranford mother told the news network. 

Pictured: One of the Janic Valle's two sons walks through ankle-deep water in the family's basement - moments before floodwater burst through the wall on the far-side

Pictured: One of the Janic Valle’s two sons walks through ankle-deep water in the family’s basement – moments before floodwater burst through the wall on the far-side 

Pictured: Floodwater is seen bursting through the basement wall of the Valle family home in New Jersey. The incident was captured in a security camera inside the basement

Pictured: Floodwater is seen bursting through the basement wall of the Valle family home in New Jersey. The incident was captured in a security camera inside the basement

The waters flooded the basement, and while one of Janice Valle's two sons was able to escape, she and her second son were left trapped. Thankfully, they were both able to escape with the help of the son seen walking through the basement and the Janice's husband

The waters flooded the basement, and while one of Janice Valle’s two sons was able to escape, she and her second son were left trapped. Thankfully, they were both able to escape with the help of the son seen walking through the basement and the Janice’s husband

But Janice Valle and her second son were not so lucky, with the pair becoming trapped in the rising water and left fearing for their lives.

‘All he knows is he was in between two beams so he’s breathing, he lost his sense of where he was,’ Marlon Valle, the father of the family, said.

The trapped son was able to punch a tile out of the ceiling and find a pocket of air to breathe, while his brother and father used an outdoor umbrella to punch out a window and pull him out to safety. 

Meanwhile, at the other end of the basement, their mother Janice was still trapped and clinging on to a boiler for dear life.

She had maybe four inches of water to spare, she said, and could hear her husband calling out to her. 

‘Janice, you have to come here and open the window so I can pull you out,’ she recalled hearing. ‘And I said, “can you swim towards me?”‘ Marlon said.

Janice was able to escape, meaning all family members survived the ordeal, but their could have fared differently if the water had come through the wall any sooner.

‘We’re definitely going to live differently, enjoying everything. Everyday is precious,’ Janice said. 

Hurricane Ida’s death toll continued to rise on Sunday, with many in the Northeast holding out hope for people missing in the floodwaters, while in Louisiana nearly 600,000 people still lack power a week after the storm made landfall.

Satellite images show the Saffron Banquet Hall in Manville, New Jersey is surrounded by floodwaters on September 2

Satellite images show the Saffron Banquet Hall in Manville, New Jersey is surrounded by floodwaters on September 2

A home with flood waters leading into the garage on Lester Street is seen on September 2, in Passaic City, New Jersey

A home with flood waters leading into the garage on Lester Street is seen on September 2, in Passaic City, New Jersey 

Ida slammed into Louisiana on August 29 as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 150 mph. The latest death toll in the southern state rose to at least 13 people on Sunday. 

The storm weakened as it moved north but still unleashed flash flooding on the East Coast that killed at least 50 more people, according to figures also updated Sunday. 

Ida’s record-breaking rainfall of 3.1 inches per hour on Wednesday, recorded in New York City’s Central Park, sent walls of water cascading through businesses, public transportation systems and 1,200 homes, causing more than $50 million in damages, Governor Kathy Hochul said.

‘The human toll was tremendous,’ said Hochul, recounting a trip to East Elmhurst in the city borough of Queens to assess the devastation.

‘One woman wept in my arms, an 89-year-old woman. She had nothing left after living in that home for over 40 years,’ Hochul said.

New York’s governor had previously secured an emergency disaster declaration from President Joe Biden and on Sunday signed paperwork to request related federal money to cover the costs of temporary housing as well as rebuilding homes, possibly in less flood-prone locations.

A pick-up truck drives through a flooded River Drive as water gushes out of a man hole on September 2, in Passaic City, New Jersey

A pick-up truck drives through a flooded River Drive as water gushes out of a man hole on September 2, in Passaic City, New Jersey 

Flood waters from heavy rain associated with Ida enter Sunflower Organic Cleaners in Passaic, New Jersey on September 2

Flood waters from heavy rain associated with Ida enter Sunflower Organic Cleaners in Passaic, New Jersey on September 2 

New York had 17 confirmed deaths, four in Westchester County and the remainder in New York City, where nearly all the victims were trapped in illegal basement apartments that are among the last remaining affordable options for low-income residents in the area, the governor’s spokesperson said. 

In New Jersey, there were 27 confirmed storm deaths and four people still missing, said a spokesperson for Governor Phil Murphy.

Among the missing were two college students last seen in Passaic, New Jersey, on Wednesday as Ida’s historic deluge was reported to have swept them away in the raging Passaic River.

A student mass was called on Sunday at Seton Hall University in South Orange for Nidhi Rana, 18, a first-year commuter student from Passaic who was last seen with her friend Ayush Rana, 21, a Montclair State University student, as the water rushed around his car.

‘Join me in keeping Nidhi and Ayush in your prayers for their safe return,’ Seton Hall President Joseph Nyre said in a letter to students.

Passaic Mayor Hector Lora said in a text Sunday that a dozen search boats were taking part in the search with the aid of a state police air unit. 

Gov. Phil Murphy, who said Saturday night the death toll in the Garden State had reached 27, said at least four people remained missing following what he called a ‘historic’ storm. He said he had already sought federal assistance and would continue to ask for more ‘because we need it.’

An aerial photo made with a drone shows damage caused by Hurricane Ida in Norco, Louisiana. on August 31

An aerial photo made with a drone shows damage caused by Hurricane Ida in Norco, Louisiana. on August 31 

Houses and businesses are seen damaged on September 2 after the town and barrier island of Grand Isle was left devastated by Hurricane Ida

Houses and businesses are seen damaged on September 2 after the town and barrier island of Grand Isle was left devastated by Hurricane Ida 

‘We had rain in many communities in two or three hours that were equivalent to what they normally get in a month or two,’ Murphy told CBS’s ‘Face The Nation’ on Sunday. ‘This, sadly, we think is part of what we´re going to be facing, more frequency and more intensity.’ 

Other storm deaths were reported in Connecticut with at least one dead, Pennsylvania with at least four dead and Maryland with at least one dead.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to be in New Jersey and New York City on Tuesday to survey storm damage, according to the White House. He visited Louisiana on Friday before flying to his private residence in Delaware for Labor Day weekend. 

Appearing Sunday at a New York City subway stop that sustained heavy flooding, Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer renewed the call for Congress to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a reconciliation bill that would dedicate billions to improving flood resiliency and addressing the broader effects of climate change.

‘Ida was yet another wake-up call for New York and a nation where too many are hitting the snooze button on big and bold change,’ Schumer said at the 28th Street station. Videos showed rivers of water cascading from the street down onto the station’s platform and tracks.

‘Each of these hurricanes gets a name,’ Schumer said. ‘It´s time to make one for ourselves as a nation that can keep doing the big things and the hard work that saves the planet and grows our economy.’ 

The death toll jumped to 13 on Sunday when the Louisiana Health Department confirmed the death of a 74-year-old male who passed from the extreme heat during the extensive power outage. 

Amid stifling heat and humidity, more than 600,000 still lack power and businesses lacked electricity as of Sunday, according to PowerOutage.com. Some 1.2 million had originally lost power. 

Ida damaged or destroyed more than 22,000 power poles, more than hurricanes Katrina, Zeta and Delta combined, an impact Entergy President and CEO Phillip May called ‘staggering.’

Residents continue to face food, water and gas shortages while battling heat and humidity a week after the hurricane made landfall. It could take weeks to return power to all Louisiana residents. 

At least four of those who died in Louisiana were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from power generators, officials said. 

Harrowing bodycam footage captured the moment a NYPD officer tried unsuccessfully to dive into a flooded apartment to rescue a family who drowned inside as Ida brought record rainfall to New York.   

NYPD body cam footage shows the 'valiant efforts' made by police officers who attempted to rescue a family of three from their basement apartment

NYPD body cam footage shows the ‘valiant efforts’ made by police officers who attempted to rescue a family of three from their basement apartment

Mingma Sherpa, 48,(left)  Ang Gelu Lama, 50,(right) and their two-year-old son were found dead in their basement apartment in Woodside, Queens

Two-year-old Lobsang 'Ang' was found dead with his parents after Hurricane Ida flooded New York City

Mingma Sherpa, 48, (Pic 1 left) Ang Gelu Lama, 50, (Pic 1 right) and their two-year-old son were found dead in their basement apartment in Woodside, Queens. Two-year-old Lobsang ‘Ang’ was found dead with his parents after Hurricane Ida flooded New York City

The family of three were trapped in their basement by the flood waters that pressed against their one door and quickly filled the apartment

The family of three were trapped in their basement by the flood waters that pressed against their one door and quickly filled the apartment 

The gut-wrenching video shows the policeman standing in dirty water nearly reaching his shoulders in the staircase leading to the door of the family’s basement apartment, with a light on overhead. 

He is surrounded by water that is so deep the door to the family’s apartment is completely submerged beneath it, while an unseen colleague films on their bodcycam. 

Heartbreakingly, plush children’s toys float past as the cop tries to attempt a rescue, with a can of Lysol disinfectant spray also seen bobbing on the surface. 

The officer eventually dives into the water for several seconds before the other officer whose body cam is recording also goes underwater. 

His colleague, who stood back slightly and filmed the rescue attempt, temporarily went underwater, with the lens capturing just how dirty and murky the liquid was, with visibility close to zero. 

The police department confirmed that the bodies of three people were found inside the underground apartment having ‘died from drowning.’ They belonged to Ang Gelu Lama, 50, his wife Mingma Sherpa, 48, and the Nepalese couple’s two-year-old son, Lobsang ‘Ang.’

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