Caribbean Fever - Your ONLY destination to all things Caribbean and more
'The water is coming in right now... The water coming in from the window!' Sherpa purportedly yelled down the phone to Choi Sledge, who lives on the complex's third floor.
Choi told The New York Times that she urged the family to 'get out' and make their way upstairs. When Choi tried to call back minutes later there was no answer.
The basement apartment features just one door, and occupants can only leave by climbing an external flight of stairs.
Deborah Torres, who lives on the first floor of the complex, says she believes the staircase would have been cascading with rushing water, making it impossible for the family to escape.
'I think the pressure of the water was too strong that they couldn't open the door [to get out and up the stairs] ' Torres told The New York Daily News. 'The [basement] was just like a pool with stairs.'
The windows of the property are barred, meaning it was also unfeasible to escape through them.
Lama and Sherpa were both immigrants from Nepal.
Ang Lama, 50, and his two-year-old son (pictured) drowned inside their basement apartment on Wednesday night
The basement apartment features only one door, which can only be accessed by going down an external flight of stairs (pictured)
The narrow, underground entrance of the basement apartment is pictured on Thursday after the storm
The windows of the property are barred, meaning it was also unfeasible to escape through them (pictured)
Ang Lama, 50, and Mingma Sherpa, 48, lived with their son in the basement apartment of the three-story apartment complex in Woodside, Queens
The bodies of the three victims were removed from the apartment on Thursday morning
The apartment complex is the last building at the bottom of a street that is on a significant downward slope.
Most of the homes have downward slanting garages, with one neighbor telling DailyMail.com that the area feels like being 'in a valley built between two hills'.
The flooding was so severe that it also caused damage to the apartment on the first floor, where Torres lives with her daughter.
'It was so fast. My daughter started to scream... when I came out from my room the water was already on my feet,' Torres told The Daily News.
'My sofa was floating. This has never happened before.'