Mayor criticised for telling Atlantic City residents to stay put for Hurricane Sandy

 

New Jersey, US

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faulted Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford for advising residents to stay put as Hurricane Sandy barreled in, leaving a large number stranded as water levels rise.

"There is no way for us to go get them," Christie said.

Rescuers can't reach shelters and homes in the city until at least daybreak, the first-term Republican governor said at a 5:35 p.m. news briefing. One shelter, a public school, is "literally a block away from the bay," he said.

The hurricane bore down on the Garden State packing sustained winds of as much as 85 miles (137 kilometers) per hour at 7 p.m., and came ashore along the state's southern coast. The deadly storm, measuring 900 miles across, may leave as much as $20 billion of property damage in its wake. By the time the storm made landfall, the city's fabled boardwalk was awash in the surf.

"This has become particularly problematic in Atlantic City, where for whatever reason Mayor Langford urged people to stay in shelters in the city," the governor said. A man who answered the telephone in the mayor's office said he was unavailable to comment as he was out assessing the effects of the storm.

"For those of you who are on the barrier islands who decided it was better idea to wait this out than to evacuate, and for those elected officials who decided to ignore my admonition, this is now your responsibility," Christie said. He ordered people to leave the coastal areas Saturday. "Evacuations are no longer possible," the governor said at the briefing.

Some people sheltering at the Golden Nugget casino agreed with Christie's criticism of Langford and said the mayor should have done more to help with evacuation and storm preparation.

"He should have made sure the evacuation was mandatory," said Cary Putzer about Langford.

Putzer was in the casino because he couldn't walk to a city shelter. He said he called the local emergency response telephone numbers four times before finally being told no one would be coming to pick him up and take him to a safer location.

"The lady started screaming at me and said you need to get to a shelter by yourself and then we can help you," Putzer said. The Brigantine Island resident said he walked across a bridge into the city to find shelter.

Luz Guevara also walked to the casino after calling the local emergency response numbers. The Atlantic City resident said she began asking for help Sunday night for both herself and her family, including six grandchildren. Coast Guard personnel holed up at the casino finally used their personal vehicles to take Guevara and her family to a shelter.

"If you're still able to hear me, we need you to hunker down and get to the highest point possible," Christie said, speaking those who remained in the storm's path from state police headquarters in West Trenton. "I cannot in good conscience send rescuers in as the storm is about to hit."

A 21-member search-and-rescue team will be sent to Atlantic City starting at daybreak. Another team, with 40 members and 10 boats that's based in Lakehurst, will be dispatched to other barrier islands.

New Jersey's gambling centre  is trying to attract new visitors and reclaim some of the gamblers who frequented the city when it had an East Coast monopoly. It has lost customers to newer casinos in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York.

Christie has expanded casino marketing, eased regulations and created a tourism district around the resorts to give the state a greater role in policing and development. He gave the Revel Entertainment Group a $261 million tax break to help restart construction. The company's oceanside hotel and wagering rooms had a grand opening in May.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea