WOODBRIDGE, NJ – New details have emerged about the death of Sunanda Upadhye, the 56-year-old woman from Woodbridge who died in Hurricane Ida.
While Woodbridge Police initially believed she had been swept away by the flooding, she was in fact fatally electrocuted as she attempted to make her way home on Gill Lane in the wee hours of the morning of September 2, her husband said Sunil Upadhye.
She passed away in an instant, her husband said on this GoFundMe page which he launched this week to help bury her. A colleague dropped her off and she had a minute’s walk home. She entered the flood water which contained electric current and died instantly.
It is not known how deep the water was.
A similar phenomenon occurred in Piscataway, where Mayor Brian Wahler had gone out with a megaphone on Thursday after the storm, warning residents not to enter the flood waters as it contained live electrical wires.
“In Hurricane Ida, I lost my wife in (a) flood that had electric current,” her husband wrote. “Her Walmart friend dropped her off near my house, a minute’s walk away. When she walked up to the bridge, there was an electric current in the water. I lost my wife in one. fraction of a second that I never imagined, thought or expected. “
“Suddenly, in less than a minute, I lost my lovely hardest, hardest working wife when she told her friend that she could come home in a minute and that she was never returned home. “
A total of 30 New Jersey residents died in Ida on September 1, 28 of those deaths were from drownings in flash floods and two from electrocution.
Upadhye said his wife had worked at Woodbridge Walmart for the past seven years and enjoyed her job there, working “incredibly hard.”
As the rain poured down that night, he said his colleagues at Walmart warned him not to leave the store and stay there and weather the storm.
However, she believed she could return home, he said.
“His colleagues at Walmart who attended (his) funeral also said not to go out of Walmart, but my wife thought she could do it and never did,” he wrote. “No idea if God loved her more than me or if she paid the price for not listening and lost her life.”
“The moment she put her feet in the water which had electric current, she instantly lost it,” he continued. “There is no way to save human lives if there is electric current in the water.”
Upadhye said he and his wife had been married for 32 years and described themselves as hard-working Indian immigrants pursuing the American dream. They lived in the Iselin section of Woodbridge and have a son, who has returned to India.
“We both started from zero and it took us 18 years and 10 months to become Americans,” he said. “We fought our battle from India from scratch to become Americans for decades and decades. My wife loved America too much.”
He also said Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac came to his house and handed him a check for $ 2,000 to pay for his funeral expenses. He also said the Red Cross and his employer, Deloitte, had helped him financially.
It also has a warning to everyone when the next storm hits: Never walk in deep puddles or severely flooded areas. You never know if the water may contain electrical current from fallen electrical wires.
“Be careful and watchful in a flood and walk in a flood, because it was not only the floods but the strong winds that broke trees, houses, businesses, buildings and utility poles. My request is to strictly follow the news notices and set an alert on your phone. “
“I pray to God that no man in the world suffers this loss,” he said.
Related: Here are the 3 Middlesex County residents who died in the Ida flooding
Ida caused more immediate deaths than Sandy
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