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City Takes Bell Atlantic Off The Hook: 911 Goes Dead — Bayside Woman Forced To Foot It Trying To Save Life – QNS.com

City Takes Bell Atlantic Off The Hook: 911 Goes Dead — Bayside Woman Forced To Foot It Trying To Save Life

A systemwide failure of the 911 emergency phone system left a Queens woman with few options at 10:35 a.m. on Sunday (Jan 31) as her boyfriend suffered what officials are calling an apparent heart attack.
"I needed help and I wasn’t getting it, I just got a busy signal," 39-year-old Susan Ungvary, told reporters from the front of her 215 St. home just hours after the collapse of John Audy who was visiting Bayside for the weekend from Vermont where he worked as a private contractor.
After dialing 911 three times Ungvary reportedly rushed out of her home in bare feet, and frantically ran three blocks to Bayside’s 111 Pct. on Northern Blvd.
By 11:09 a.m. Audy received first aid by police officers from the 111 Pct. and shortly after was assisted by medical personnel who rushed him to New York Hospital Flushing Medical Center where he was pronounced dead shortly after 11:45 a.m., said police.
"Thursday night he was out bowling and he seemed fine," said Charlene Audy whose husband Larry was the heart-attack victim’s second cousin and saw him just before his trip to New York.
Charlene Audy told the Queens Courier that "He (John Audy) was a good person and a good father of two daughters who liked bowling and the outdoors."
Calling the Bayside incident a tragedy, Mayor Rudy Giuliani told members of the press on Sunday that there was no way to be certain if Audy’s life could have been saved if Ungvary were able to get through to 911.
Officials have determined that the decision of police and private emergency-center officials testing two of the system’s back-up generators at the same time were to blame for the citywide overload after Police Commissioner Howard Safir told reporters at a City Hall press conference that they were testing the generators and in hindsight "it was a mistake."
The admission came on the heels of finger pointing on the part of city officials at Bell Atlantic for the hour long shutdown.
"It (only) took fifteen minutes to switch over or redirect the calls from MetroTech to Police Plaza," said John Bonomo, a spokesperson for Bell Atlantic referring to the period of time it took after police requested a switchover of calls.
Echoing the words of Giuliani who called for a thorough investigation into the incident, Councilman Sheldon Leffler, who heads up the city’s public safety commission said that this issue would be the focus of an upcoming City Council meeting on Feb. 17.
"The public pays a 35 cent surcharge on their phone bill to finance a backup that seems to have flown off the drawing board," Leffler told the Queens Courier following the system breakdown.

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