Storm spins death and 'a lot of tears' along path

Associated Press
FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 file photo, a firefighter leaves the destroyed home in Pasadena, Md where Donald Cannata Sr. was killed overnight when a tree fell on it during superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
.

View gallery

Death blew in on the superstorm's wild winds and sea water torrents, claiming 90-year-olds and children with capriciously toppling trees, taking tall-ship adventurers in mountainous Atlantic waves and average folks just trying to deal with a freakish snowstorm. It felled both heroes rushing into harm's way and, ironically, people simply following advice to play it safe at home.

At least 72 died as the shape-shifting hurricane and winter storm ravaged the eastern U.S., and searchers continued looking for victims Wednesday.

In New York City, a college student went out to take pictures in the borough of Queens and was electrocuted by a downed power line, while across town on Staten Island, an off-duty policeman drowned after moving his family to safety.

Lauren Abraham, who went by the nickname LolaDiva on YouTube, was a makeup artist who worked out of a studio in her parents' Queens home. The recent beauty school graduate was studying at City University of New York's Lehman College, according to her Facebook page. "In her time of reflection she learned to find the beauty in even the darkest situations," her online bio reads.

As the superstorm ravaged New York and floodwater surged into his Staten Island house Monday evening, off-duty NYPD officer Artur Kasprzak, 28, shepherded six adult relatives and a baby to the attic.

Then, according to police, Kasprzak, a six-year veteran of the force, told one of the women he was going to check the basement. When he didn't return, she called 911. Police came quickly with a SCUBA unit, but couldn't access the home because power lines had fallen into the water.

"He went to the basement. And the water just started washing in," his sister Marta told the Daily News. "He was pushed into a window. ... The water just kept coming in."

Bunting draped a firehouse in Easton, Conn., honoring another first responder who rushed to help. Lt. Russell Neary was killed when an enormous tree crashed down on his fire truck as he and others tried to clear storm debris.

"We're a small volunteer department, and so everybody knew everybody," said Casey Meskers, the department vice president. Neary was the president. An insurance executive, he had volunteered for 13 years, and also helped with his children's sports teams.

"We've been on the soccer fields with each other with our kids," Meskers said Wednesday. "There's been a lot of tears shed, I'll tell you."

So many times, trees and heavy limbs that fell to the storm's powerful gusts left mourners along its path.

Two people died when a tree fell on their vehicle in Morris County, N.J., and many others perished inside homes, where they thought they'd be safe — from North Salem, N.Y., where two boys, 11 and 13, were killed when a tree fell on their home, to Pasadena, Md.

Donald Cannata Sr., 73, was at home in Pasadena, a leafy suburb between Baltimore and Annapolis, when the storm knocked a large tree into his house. The retired civil engineer lived alone with his cat and dog and had stepped into the kitchen just when the tree fell.

He loved photography and opera and was considerate, hardworking and selfless, said his son, Donald Jr., an opinion shared by neighbors. Cannata's son said his father's death "shook me so to the core," partly because they had talked about taking down the tree.

"We talked about it so many times. I said, 'Pop, the tree's getting pretty old,'" Cannata said.

An elderly man trimming a tree in Pennsylvania's Lancaster County was killed when a limb broke and fell on him, authorities said.

A limb fall also killed John Rose Sr. as he and his wife checked fences on his snow-covered 100-acre farm near Philippi, W.Va., on Tuesday. The storm had dumped about seven inches of snow in the region, where Rose was a Republican candidate for the House of Delegates. He had traveled to Charleston regularly to lobby lawmakers on farming and other issues, and he hoped to continue making the trip as a member.

Rose, 60, had previously run a power-washing business and worked as a coal miner, his son George Rose said.

"The whole county knew him," he said.

The storm's blizzard threat was still far off when, churning in the relatively warm Atlantic off Cape Hatteras, N.C., on Monday, Hurricane Sandy engulfed the replica tall ship HMS Bounty. The ship, which was featured in the films "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," took on water and eventually went down.

Coast Guard rescuers saved most of the 17 crew members, but a search continues for the ship's captain, Robin Wallbridge.

Swept overboard with him was Claudene Christian, 42, who said she was a direct descendant of the man who led the infamous 1789 mutiny on the real HMS Bounty. In the 1962 Bounty film, Marlon Brando starred as lead mutineer Fletcher Christian.

Searchers found Christian — a novice sailor who was wearing an orange survival suit — unresponsive in the water late Monday, about eight nautical miles from where the Bounty sank. She was flown by helicopter to a hospital on the mainland, where she was pronounced dead.

A marketing specialist, she had lived in Alaska, Oklahoma and California. She was a member of the University of Southern California cheering squad, the Song Girls, from 1989 to 1991, said coach Lori Nelson. "Claudene will always be remembered for her energetic and bubbly personality on and off the field," the team posted on its Facebook page.

Endless accidents that would be described as freak twists of fate spun off from the superstorm.

Eugene "Rusty" Brooks, 42, of Woodstock, N.H., died Tuesday morning when a hillside construction site in the state's White Mountains collapsed beneath him. Brooks, owner of Pemmi Contracting, had been preparing a cellar on a home site on Loon Mountain in the ski resort town of Lincoln, said Police Chief Ted Smith. The cellar hole had filled up with rain from Sandy, and Brooks had just thrown a hose in to drain it off when the ground gave way.

"The retaining wall just liquefied with him standing there," Smith said. "He washed down with all the boulders, mud and water into the street."

When police and rescue workers arrived, they found a bystander performing CPR on Brooks, who could not be revived.

"It just basically was a freak, bizarre accident," the chief said. "It could have given way prior to him being there or afterwards."

The massive storm's unrelenting stress was blamed as a contributor to death by some loved ones, and in other cases the paralyzing wind and water compounded medical problems.

An Atlantic City, N.J., woman had a heart attack while she was being evacuated on Monday, officials reported.

In Pennsylvania's Lehigh County, an 86-year-old woman was pronounced dead of hypothermia after being found unresponsive in her yard following exposure to the storm, and a 48-year-old woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning in her home, the coroner's office reported.

A 90-year-old woman also died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator in the Philadelphia area, one of two claimed by the storm at age 90. The other was a Mansfield, Conn., woman who neighbors said left her home after a small tree snapped and was killed by a larger one.

In New York City, Herminia St. John, a 75-year-old grandmother of 14 who suffered from congestive heart failure and diabetes, died after her oxygen machine lost power and a backup failed. Her grandson, Claudio St. John, rushed into the street and tried unsuccessfully to flag down an ambulance. Finally, he went around the corner to Bellevue Hospital, where his mother worked as a food supervisor for 30 years. But by the time someone came it was too late.

"I hugged her and she hugged and kissed me," Elsa St. John, 54, told the Daily News. "She asked me to turn her to the window and she was gone."

___

Associated Press writers Allen G. Breed in Raleigh, N.C., Alex Dominguez in Pasadena, Md., Sharon Cohen in Chicago, Justin Pope in Ann Arbor, Mich., Lawrence Messina in Charleston, W.Va., and Vicki Smith in Philippi, W.Va., contributed to this report.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Boeing responds after Trump knocks contract for Air Force One jets

      Donald Trump declared Tuesday morning that the Air Force should cancel its contract with Boeing to build two new presidential airplanes, asserting that the agreement had a $4 billion price tag. “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. It’s not clear how Trump, who frequently tweets exaggerated or baseless claims, arrived at that number.

      Yahoo News
    • Let's Get Ready to Roo-ble! Kangaroo Gripping Dog in Chokehold Is Punched in the Face by Hunter

      Surprisingly, the entire event came to be as a final wish to a terminal teen suffering from a rare form of bone cancer.

      Inside Edition
    • Theories About What May Have Happened To Sherri Papini

      Shasta County police have so far found no leads that could shed light on the motive behind the California mother's kidnapping.

      International Business Times
    • If you’re thinking about buying an Apple Watch, today is the day to do it

      The Apple Watch might not be the smash hit that Wall Street analysts guessed it would be, but it's still the most popular smart watch in the world by a landslide. In fact, during its first year on the market, the Apple Watch became the number 2 best-selling watch brand on the planet behind only Rolex. That's a pretty amazing feat for a device in such a new category, and now is your chance to see what all the fuss is about. Amazon has a big sale going for one day only, and it knocks $80 off a stainless steel 38mm Apple Watch with a Sport band, or $90 off a stainless steel 42mm Apple Watch with a Classic Buckle leather band. These prices are unbeatable, and they're only available on Tuesday. We're talking about the Series 1 watches here, just to be clear. If you want a taste of the stainless Apple Watch without spending too much cash though, this is the perfect way to get it. The only difference between Series 1 and Series 2 Apple Watches is the speed, and it's really not too big a deal for a device where all of your interactions are only supposed to last for a few seconds. The most important new Apple Watch feature this year is water-resistance, and these Series 1 Apple Watches are both water-resistant. Also, note that the smaller 38mm model is refurbished. The larger 42mm Apple Watch Series 1 is brand new. Here are the models on sale on Amazon today: Apple Watch 38mm Stainless Steel Case w/ Black Sport Band This Certified Refurbished product has been tested and certified to work and look like new, with minimal to no signs of wear, by a specialized third-party seller approved by Amazon. The product is backed by a minimum 90-day warranty, and may arrive in a generic brown or white box. Accessories may be generic and not directly from the manufacturer. Operating System: watchOS 2, Chipset: Apple S1, Processor: 520 MHz, GPU: PowerVR SGX543 Internal Memory: 8GB, 512MB RAM Up to 18 Hours of All-Day Battery Life, Up to 3 hours Talk Time; About 1.5 hours to 80% Charge Time, About 2.5 hours to 100% Charge Time IPX7 Ceritified - Water Resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes Apple Watch 42mm Stainless Steel Case w/ Black Classic Buckle 1.65-inch AMOLED Capacitive Touchscreen, 390 x 312 pixels + Sapphire Crystal Glass Operating System: watchOS 2, Chipset: Apple S1, Processor: 520 MHz, GPU: PowerVR SGX543 Internal Memory: 8GB, 512MB RAM Heart Rate Sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Ambient Light Sensor Up to 18 Hours of All-Day Battery Life, Up to 3 hours Talk Time; About 1.5 hours to 80% Charge Time, About 2.5 hours to 100% Charge Time

      BGR News
    • Sherri Papini Returns Home, But Questions Abound

      More than a month after she went missing, the story of the abducted mother who was found tied up on the side of a highway on Thanksgiving Day has captivated the nation.

      International Business Times
    • Boy, 16, Charged After Remains of Teen Missing for 3 Weeks Found Along Alaska Roadside

      Remains believed to be those of David Grunwald were found Friday near the town of Palmer.

      Inside Edition
    • Sherri Papini, Family Move To Undisclosed Location

      An investigation is ongoing into the kidnapping of the California mother who was found heavily battered on Thanksgiving Day morning.

      International Business Times
    • 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack (33 photos)

      On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, a Sunday, Japanese bombers flew across Oahu, Hawaii, and began their assault. The attack killed more than 2,300 people, nearly half of them on the battleship USS Arizona. More than 1,100 were injured. After the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a speech before Congress, calling Dec. 7 a “date which will live in infamy.” The U.S. declared war against Japan. (AP) Dec. 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Here’s a look back at that fateful day. See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr .  

      Yahoo News Photo Staff
    • Ohio lawmakers pass 'heartbeat' abortion legislation

      Ohio lawmakers approved a bill that bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks after conception, clearing the way for one of the most stringent abortion restrictions in the United States if it becomes law. The Republican-led state House of Representatives and Senate passed the so-called "heartbeat" measure late on Tuesday, sending it to be signed into law by Republican Governor John Kasich. Kasich, an abortion opponent, has in the past questioned whether such legislation would be constitutional.

      Reuters
    • Michigan recount now in doubt; Pennsylvania sets hearing

      DETROIT (AP) — Michigan's presidential recount suddenly became in doubt Tuesday as a state appeals court said the Green Party candidate's poor showing disqualified her from seeking a second look at the votes.

      Associated Press
    • Photos of the day — December 5, 2016 (20 photos)

      A street actor dressed as a devil frightens children in downtown Prague on the eve of St. Nicholas in the Czech Republic; military veterans huddle together to hold a United States flag against strong winds during a march to a closed bridge outside the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D.; and Civil Defense members look for survivors under rubble of damaged buildings after air strikes on the northern neighborhood of Idlib city, Syria. (AP/Reuters) These are just a few of the photo of the day for December 5, 2016. See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr .

      Yahoo News Photo Staff
    • Former Oklahoma state trooper sentenced to 8 years in prison

      SAPULPA, Okla. (AP) — A former Oklahoma state trooper accused of sexually assaulting women during traffic stops was sentenced Tuesday to more than eight years in prison after pleading guilty to lesser charges.

      Associated Press
    • Traffic Stop for Speeding Turns Into Kidnapping of Sheriff's Deputy: Cops

      A traffic stop for speeding ended with multiple charges, including kidnapping an officer.

      Inside Edition
    • Get ready for a limited NES Classic Edition sale tomorrow morning

      It's basically impossible to find a NES Classic Edition for $60 right now, unless you or someone you've recently bribed works in inventory management at Target. Walmart, Best Buy and anyone else you'd think of as selling the games console are out of stock online, and the limited stock that trickles into physical retails stores is being gobbled up before they even make it to the shelves. But at the eleventh hour before Christmas, one highly unlikely retailer might save your day/holiday gifting plans: Urban Outfitters. DON'T MISS:  Galaxy Note 7 fires were caused by over-ambitious design, engineers find The store known for selling painfully hipster record players and "ironic" Polaroids will have a limited-stock, online-only sale of the NES Classic Edition starting tomorrow morning. We don't yet have a precise time, but Urban Outfitters told  BGR  it will be sometime Tuesday AM. If I were a guessing man, I'd say the likeliest times would be 12:01AM, and something like 7, 8 or 9AM in the morning, just as physical stores open/the IT guy clicks "go" in an office somewhere. In the absence of perfect information, I'd recommend using a service like Visualping  to keep an eye on Urban Outfitter's tech page , so that when the site gets updated with a new product, you'll get pinged with an email. The good thing about this Urban Outfitter sale is that unlike the stock releases from Walmart and Target, not too many people seem to know about it. Add that to the uncertain release timing, and this could be your best chance to get a console before Christmas. Years of experience with buying concert tickets has taught me the best strategies for making sure you get your hands on a console. Make sure you set up an account beforehand and that you're logged in, to speed through checkout. You'll also want to have more than one computer on hand, so you can keep hitting refresh on multiple devices to get the best chance. If possible, rope a couple friends into the plan; bribe with the promise of Super Mario parties where necessary.

      BGR News
    • Trooper responding to call of erratic driver killed by him

      MILLVILLE, N.J. (AP) — A recently married rookie state trooper responding to an emergency call about an erratic driver was killed in a violent wreck on a highway when the erratic driver, traveling in the opposite direction, crossed a grassy median and slammed into his marked cruiser head-on, authorities said.

      Associated Press
    • Longtime Sheriff's Deputy Dies After Her Car Plunges into Sinkhole: 'We Are Heartbroken'

      Deputy Dora Linda Nishihara, 69, died after her car fell into 12 feet of water Sunday.

      Inside Edition
    • Amazon opens line-free grocery store in challenge to supermarkets

      Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it has opened a brick-and-mortar grocery store in Seattle without lines or checkout counters, kicking off new competition with supermarket chains. Amazon Go, the online shopping company's new 1,800-square-foot (167-square-meter) store, uses sensors to detect what items shoppers have picked off the shelves and sends a bill to their Amazon accounts if they do not replace them. The store marks Amazon's latest push into groceries, one of the biggest retail categories it has yet to master.

      Reuters
    • Klan leaders charged after stabbing ahead of pro-Trump rally

      Two leaders of the Ku Klux Klan group were set to appear in court on charges of stabbing a fellow white supremacist before a parade to celebrate Donald Trump's presidential election, a sheriff's official said. William Hagen and Christopher Barker were arrested Saturday in Caswell County in the southeastern US state of North Carolina after allegedly stabbing Richard Dillon, a sheriff's official in the county said. Hagen has been identified as the leader, or "Grand Dragon," of the Loyal White Knights faction of the Klan in California.

      AFP
    • 2018 Buick Regal Sedan and Wagon Spied: They're Undisguised and They're Hot

      Swap out the Insignia insignias, and you have sharp-looking Buicks.

      Car and Driver