A Queens woman trying to salvage the situation amid Hurricane Ida but ended up running into a death trap. However, the most unexpected person came to her rescue.
Hurricane Ida has been a thorn in the flesh for New York City residents, with 13 of them losing their lives after being caught in the floods.
11 of those victims died from drowning in their basement apartments, which flooded rapidly during the hurricane's torrential downpours.
Blind son who saved mom from drowning. | Photo: youtube.com/Eyewitness News ABC7NY
A 47-year-old woman from Queens, Danette Rivera, found herself in the middle of the storm last Wednesday. Ida was tearing through the city and she, wanting to prevent the storm from reaching her first floor, ran to her basement.
However, she soon realized she had run into a death trap. Seconds after she bolted to the basement, it filled up with water and almost reached the ceiling.
Rivera had no way of getting back upstairs, but she managed to force the basement's slit window open and started shouting for help while fighting to keep her head above water.
Rivera narrated her ordeal to New York Daily News and recalled thinking she would not make it out alive. However, her 29-year-old son, who is legally blind in both eyes, found her.
As she kept shouting that she was drowning, he traced her by her voice and came to grab and pull her out of the flooded basement. She walked away with a badly bruised stomach and arms but alive nonetheless.
Rivera owes her life to her blind son, who saved her at the risk of his own life. About him, she said: "My son is blind, but he's not weak. My son saved my life. My son is my hero."
Hurricane Ida has shone the light on the number of illegal basements in New York City and the safety of such units.
Rivera, who has lived in her Woodside apartment for 14 years, wants the city to figure out a plan to stop drains from reversing and gushing out water, which caused her basement to get flooded. She said:
"We should have some sort of trap to prevent the water from coming back in. That will save lives."
Rivera's son's heroics call to mind that of another legally blind man, who saved a woman from her attacker in March 2009.
A 45-year-old man, whom authorities identified as a convicted rapist, had broken into the woman's apartment and was waiting for her to return from work.
However, her blind neighbor, identified as Jerry, heard noises from her apartment. Jerry, blind in his left eye and with about 25% vision in his right eye, went to the woman's apartment and kicked the door open.
His actions surprised the would-be attacker, who locked the door. When the woman arrived, she confirmed she did not know the man in her apartment, after which the police took him away.