Neighbors hear screams of Howard Beach woman but unable to help before she drowned

Annette Albanese said her son needed to be tied with an extension cord to cross the street to rescue a stranded woman and her dogs on the stoop (r.). Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Residents on 98th Street in Howard Beach said they heard an elderly woman yelling as storm surge waters filled the street Monday evening, but the current was too strong for them to rescue her.

“We heard her screaming for help, but no one could get to her,” said Annette Albanese, who lives several homes down near 165th Avenue. “The water was unbelievab­le.”

Police confirmed that a woman in her 70s drowned in the home but had not identified her by 6 p.m.

Neighbors said her name was Rose.

“She just didn’t want to leave,” said Kevin Orlando, who said he asked the woman if she wanted to evacuate several times before the storm hit.

Christine Orlando said she believed the woman was a widow, lived alone and did not have any children.

“She swept the leaves every day,” said Kevin Orlando, who added that the senior did not own a TV and wondered if she understood the severity of the approaching storm.

Jay Soto said the woman was mobile and often walked about the neighborhood.

Albanese said that many neighbors called 911 but were told emergency responders could not reach the flooded area of Old Howard Beach.

“They couldn’t come back here because the water was too deep,” she said.

Residents described the flooding as reaching the second floor of homes.

Albanese said a woman who lived in a ground-floor apartment was trapped on a second-floor stoop for about three-hours as Sandy raged.

Eventually, Albanese’s son was tied to an extension cord and he braved the current to reach the stranded woman and let her inside the locked apartment.

Albanese questioned why Howard Beach residents were not told to evacuate.

“All of a sudden, it was upon us and it was too late.”

Reach photo editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4589.

Updated 12:30 pm, November 3, 2012
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader feedback

Donna Diorio from Ozone Park says:
The Albanese Family are wonderful people. It does not surprise me that he did such a heroic thing. My heart goes out to all the families that suffered devastation
Oct. 31, 2012, 1:36 pm
Michael Colosuonno from Dad granfather of Albanese says:
Not Surprised my Children n Grandchild would help someone in the time of need...........
Oct. 31, 2012, 5:37 pm
maria camacho from howard beach/ ozone park says:
these people are my family. they are good people and would help anyone in need. i'm not suprised that they would try to save that women, or anyone else in need. i'm so sorry for the death of that woman and for everyone who has lost someone and or everything from this. my heart and prayers go out to all everyday. GOD BLESS all of you in need. "WE" will over come this . the NEW YORKERS are fighters and we will get through this, together .
Nov. 5, 2012, 11:01 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.


Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: