08/29/2011 10:48 am ET | Updated Oct 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene 2011: Man Electrocuted Trying To Save Child In NY (UPDATED)

Updated August 30, 2011 1:21 a.m.

By Associated Press

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. — Officials say a good Samaritan was electrocuted trying to help a young child who had gone into a flooded street outside New York City that had live wires embedded in it.

A spokesman for the Rockland County Emergency Operations Center says the child is in serious condition at a hospital burn unit.

Spokesman Ron Levine says the youngster got caught in wires obscured in a flooded Spring Valley street Sunday afternoon. He says the child had to be taken by land with a police escort to the hospital because helicopters were grounded. It took 20 minutes to get the child there.

The boy was had been with his father looking for storm damage. As passerby David Reichenberg, 50, attempted to save the child, he fell into a puddle of water electrified by the live wire, according to the New York Daily News.

When the rescue team arrived, they were unable to get near Reichenberg because of the wire, witness Moishe Lichtenstein said. He told the New York Daily News:

"When emergency officials got there, they couldn't touch him. We were standing there for like five or 10 minutes. We were just praying, 'God help this man.'"

Reichenberg died at the scene.

Levin told NBC he commends Reichenberg's act of bravery:

"The fact that he took the time and the risk in this type of situation makes him nothing less than a good Samaritan. It's a deep tragedy."

Levine says the child's father was treated for burns at another hospital and released. The victims' names were not released. Levine says the child was 4 or 5 years old.

Spring Valley is about 30 miles northwest of Manhattan.

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