Human tragedy marks New York snow recovery
Dec 29, 2010, 17:59 GMT
New York - Snow-bound New Yorkers continued to shovel their way out of one of the biggest snow storms in decades on Wednesday while Mayor Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for another 24 hours of patience and blamed circumstances and bad judgement for lags in emergency service.
As snowplows cleared more streets in New York's five boroughs, personal tragedies emerged that were caused by the sudden fall of 60 cm of snow on Sunday and Monday.
'We won't get to everybody every time,' Bloomberg said in broadcast remarks.
Angry residents are blaming City Hall for the slow response to a natural disaster that closed New York region's three international airports and stranded thousands of travelers until the New Year.
The New York Daily News reported that a 22-year-old college senior's newborn was pronounced dead Tuesday night after a tense 10- hour wait for medical assistance inside an apartment building in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
The News said firefighters and police arrived through snow-covered streets to find the baby unconscious and unresponsive to medical efforts. Emergency medical services, thwarted by the walls of snow, have arrived too late to provide assistance to other cases, too, the newspaper reported.
Ambulances have frequently become stuck in the snow.
'Too many ambulances went down blocked streets, for example,' Bloomberg said. 'What they should've done was stay at the corner of the main street and then walked down or struggled through the snow to get down, because once the ambulance got in it couldn't get out.'
'We will make mistakes, but we have to continue plugging ahead. Yelling about it and complaining doesn't help,' Bloomberg said. 'I think you can expect another 24 hours before we will get to everyone and even then I'm not so sure.'
A holiday-reduced department of sanitation workforce was able to send out 2,700 plows Tuesday night. Surface traffic including busses are barely restoried. Subway service was restricted in some areas where the trains have to go through piles of uncleared snow.
Of the region's three airports, flights at the Newark Liberty Airport, New Jersey, were taking off and landing as scheduled on Wednesday.
New York's John F Kennedy International Airport was clearing the backlog of accumulated canceled flights. Passengers in two Cathay Pacific planes and a British Airways plane were stuck on the tarmac for more than seven hours Tuesday while they waited for an open gate to disembark.
More than 5,000 flights were canceled since Sunday when the snow storm hit the region.
Authorities said normal schedules were not expected until the New Year with some help from mother nature as temperatures inch up. Some passengers have spent several nights inside the airports.
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