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UPDATED More than 50 people are now known to have died in the gigantic storm, which battered the north-east of the United States on Monday night. There are 22 confirmed fatalities in New York alone, with the death toll likely to rise as the clean-up begins. Among them are Jessie Streich-Kest, 24, and Jacob Vogelman, 23 (pictured together second from right), who were crushed by a falling tree while walking their dog in Brooklyn, Lauren Abraham (second left), 23, who was electrocuted by a sparking power cable, 13-year-old Angela Dresch (far left) who was killed on Staten Island when the massive storm surge reduced her house to splinters and (far right) police officer Artur Kasprzak, 28, who drowned in his Staten Island basement saving family members from the deadly surge.
The massive loss of human life across the East Coast became apparent on Wednesday as the first pictures of the victims of Superstorm Sandy were released.
At least 59 are now known to have died after the monster storm felled enormous trees, downed dangerous power lines, swamped homes with floodwater and inflicted billions of dollars’ worth of damage.
The storm killed mothers, fathers, children and the elderly as it lumbered north, sparking freak accidents and gallant - yet tragic - displays of heroism along the East Coast.
Among the people killed trying to save the lives of others, off-duty NYPD officer Artur Kasprzak, 28, drowned in his basement after rescuing seven members of his family, including his 15-month-old son, girlfriend and father, from the rising storm surge at their home in South Beach, Staten Island.
Tragic: Jacob Vogelman (left) and Jessie Streich-Kest were crushed by a falling tree as they walked their dog in Brooklyn in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy
Friends: Ms Streich-Kest (right) and Mr Vogelman (left) were not found until early on Tuesday morning
Dog lover and political activist: Jessie Streich-Kest was killed by a falling tree when our walking her dog, Max
Shockwaves: Scene of the tree fall in Ditmas Park that killed dog walkers Ms Streich-Kest and Mr Vogelman
Buried: Emergency services remove the two bodies from beneath the tree in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn
Kasprzak instructed his family to seek shelter in the attic and said he was going to check the basement one more time – but he never returned.
NYPD dispatched boats, scuba divers and jet skis to the home, but downed power lines snaking through the water prevented them from reaching the house. Officials could only get inside at 7am on Tuesday and his body was found in the basement.
Kasprzak's commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Edward Winski, told the New York Daily News: ‘He was really a great guy, well-liked, very professional and hard working. It was very difficult this morning when I had to tell everyone. It's heartbreaking, to be honest with you.’
Sandy hit the New York City area particularly hard, claiming at least 22 lives.
Among the dead were friends Jessie Streich-Kest, 24, and Jacob Vogelman, 23, who were out walking their white pit bull dog near their home on Ditmas Avenue in Brooklyn, New York believing the worst of the storm had passed.
They were crushed by a falling tree at around 8pm on Monday evening but, among the debris of three other fallen trees on the Avenue, their bodies were not found until 7.55am on Tuesday.
Killed in her home: Angela Dresch died on Staten Island. Her mother is in critical condition and her father is still missing after Sandy reduced their house to rubble
Devastation: Angela, 13, was killed after the storm wreaked havoc in Tottenville, Staten Island, pictured
Tragedy: A large tree is felled in Tottenville - the area was in one of the state's mandatory evacuation zones
Pat Atia, whose house faces out on to the road, told the New York Times: 'We had no idea. I was outside taking pictures of my house for the insurance when a cop said 'back up, back up' and I saw a young man dead under the tree.'
Ms. Streich-Kest grew up in the Prospect Park South area of Brooklyn and was a teaching fellow who had just started teaching at the Bushwick School for Social Justice. Friends said she had been relieved to get through her first parents' evening at the high school last week.
She was also an activist who campaigned to stop abuse of the carriage horses in Central Park, following in the footsteps of her father, Jon, who is a prominent Union figure. Facebook photographs showed her attending the 2008 inauguration of President Obama in Washington.
Neighbour Matt MacLean said: 'Jessie was first a student and then a friend of mine. I can't believe that she's not here anymore. Her passion for animal welfare, political activism, and her new career as a high school teacher were so amazing.
'We talked not long ago about getting together for another coffee or drink. She could plow through all sorts of obstacles and her fortitude was a sight to behold. My heart goes out to her family, it just doesn't seem real.’
Jessie’s family released the following statement: 'Just 24 years old, Jessie Streich-Kest left a lasting impression on all who met her, and especially on her students at Bushwick HS for Social Justice, to whom she was deeply committed.
'Jessie loved life and was deeply devoted to social justice.'
Mr Vogelman, also from Brooklyn, was studying at Brooklyn College campus of the City University of New York.
Make-up artist and keen photographer: Lauren Abraham, 23, was electrocuted as she took pictures of the storm's aftermath
Dangerous: Ms Abraham was electrocuted when a length of power line brought down by the storm in Richmond Hill, Queens, started sparking
A keen thespian, he had studied theatre at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and formerly worked as a stagehand at the MGM Grand.
The dog, called Max, survived with minor bruises and is being looked after by neighbours having been taken to a nearby veterinary hospital to be treated for possible head trauma.
Elsewhere, Lauren Abraham, 23, a make-up artist and keen photographer, died after being electrocuted by an electricity cable having gone out after the storm to take pictures.
She died in Richmond Hill, Queens, when a length of power line brought down by the storm on 105th Avenue started sparking.
A dozen witnesses watched helpless and in horror as her body was set alight by the wire. It took police officers and firefighters half an hour to respond.
Neighbour Mahendra Chetram, 35, said: 'I looked out my window and I saw the girl across the street taking pictures of the live wire sparking near my car, so I ran outside to move my car. Her body was gyrating, smoke was coming from her.'
Known as Lola to her friends, Ms Abraham ran a make-up studio in the basement of her house and used the vacant third floor as a makeshift photography studio.
Hero: Artur Kasprzak died trying to save his family from the flooding
Tony Laino, 29, of Flushing in Queens was crushed in his bed when a tree crashed through his home at around 7pm on Monday evening.
Laino was at home with his parents and brother when the tree collapsed.
His heartbroken fiancee, Danielle Valente, said: 'He was in his room reading a book or sleeping and the tree just came down and killed him.'
Valente's mother, Heather, added: 'How do you deal with such a cataclysmic happening? He was a wonderful young man. There's no explanation for something like this, you have to have faith.'
Neighbours and relatives had pleaded with local authorities to remove the tree - only to be told it was healthy enough to remain.
Danielle's father, Ralph Valente, said: 'They tried to get this tree down for 25 years. They've been calling and calling; the city obviously did nothing about it and this is what happened.'
'The Parks Department was here last month cutting trees, but they let this one stay,' neighbour Joanne Evangelista, 66, told the New York Post.
They were not the only young people to lose their lives in the storm, with some children also being crushed to their deaths by trees.
Tragedy also struck North Salem, New York, when Jack Baumler, 11, and his neighbor Michael Robson, 13, died almost instantly after a massive oak tree crashed into the living room of Baumler’s home on Monday evening.
The tree, which measured 100-ft tall and three-and-a-half feet in diameter, had been around 60 feet from the family’s home, but became uprooted by the storm and crashed through the middle of the house.
Paramedics tried to revive the boys but were hindered by the large tree and they died almost instantly. Three other children were treated for minor injuries.
‘Heaven got two all-stars too soon,’ Jack Baumler's uncle, Daniel Seymour, told the News Journal.
‘Our faith will comfort us. North Salem has a huge heart and this community wraps its arms around this family. We're asking for prayers and privacy.’
The youngsters were both students at North Salem Middle School and enjoyed playing basketball together in the street, neighbours said.
Heartbreaking images of their small frames being removed from the scene have since been released, showing the grave faces of the medical examiners tasked with the sad task.
Health problem: Herminia St John, 75, died of a heart attack on 2nd street in Lower Manhattan, pictured, when the power supply to her respiratory machine cut out
In Staten Island, Andrea Dresch, 13, was found dead when the storm surge reduced her house to splinters.
And in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, an unidentified eight-year-old boy also died after he was crushed by a falling tree.
Two children, aged two and four, are also believed to be dead after they have not been seen since their mother’s SUV flipped over on Staten Island on Monday night.
And in yet more tragic incidents, two children in Randolph, have been left orphaned after their parents Richard Everett, 54, and Elizabeth Everett, 48, were crushed by a falling 100-ft tree as they drove in their car on Monday evening.
Their sons, aged 11 and 14, were in the back of the car, yet neither suffered life-threatening injuries and managed to scramble out of the vehicle before emergency responders arrived.
'We are saddened about the tragic loss of these two parents whose children were in the car with them when this terrible tragedy occurred,' said Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi.
'Our prayers are with the family, especially the children, who must now deal with such a terrible loss.'
In Staten Island, police discovered the bodies of John Filipowicz Sr, 51, and his son, John Filipowicz Jr, 20, in the basement of their home in Oakwood Beach.
Father-of-two John Miller, 39, was killed by a falling tree while standing by his car outside his Long Island home in Lloyd Harbor, near Oyster Bay, pictured
The storm had severely damaged the roof of the property and they appeared to have been crushed by debris.
The elderly were also at high risk of the wrath of the monster storm. Ella Norris, 89, was found in her home in Ocean Breeze. Officials believe she was drowned by the rising waters while Safar Shafinoori, 84, of Roslyn was killed by a falling tree as he went outside to move his car during the height of the storm.
Herminia St John, 75, from Manhattan, died from a heart attack when the power supply to her respiratory machine cut out.
Two deaths were reported on Long Island: Father-of-two John Miller, 39, was killed while standing by his car outside his home in Lloyd Harbour waiting to evacuate. His wife and daughters, aged 5 and 3, were in the car.
Miller, better known as Jack, was a keen ice hockey player, and turned out for the Long Island WASPS club.
Jeffrey Chanin, 51, of Pearl River, a retired NYPD officer, was killed and his family was injured when a tree crashed through the roof of home in Orangetown, New York.
An enormous tree in the family’s backyard crashed through the home and flattened a room before the tree trunk split and its stump rose about 25 feet from the ground. His wife and two of their children were taken to hospital with injuries.
Trapped: A parking attendant was found dead in a flooded underground car park in TriBeCa. Pictured, people in the area without power at home charge their phones at a street generator
Tiago Ferreria Neto, 54, from Yonkers, was killed when his car hit a tree that had toppled across the highway at 7.45pm on Monday.
Other fatalities include a woman who was electrocuted to death by falling wires on Manhattan’s 134th street and a 29-year-old man who was killed in a car crash in Queens.
Police in Toronto said a woman was killed by a falling sign as high winds closed in on Canada's largest city, while a 62-year-old man was killed as he let his dog out on his porch in Oley, Pennsylvania.
Her grandson ran from her Second Avenue apartment to nearby Bellevue Hospital for a manually operated oxygen tank, but was too late to save her.
Other deaths remain unclear. In TriBeCa, a parking attendant was found dead in an underground car park.
A fellow parking attendant managed to escape the raging torrent of water, which poured into the car park below buildings at 92 Laight Street.
It is part of a complex of luxury apartments that are home to several celebrities including Meryl Streep and Gwyneth Paltrow, according to the Huffington Post.
Police in Garden City Park, Long Island also said a man blew off his hand when he lit a firework during a power blackout, thinking it was a candle.