NEW YORK – Two young brothers swept from the arms of their mother by the violent sea at the height of Superstorm Sandy were found dead in a marsh Thursday.

The boys, 2-year-old Brandon and 4-year-old Connor Moore, were sucked into the swirling floodwaters as their mother, Glenda Moore, tried to escape her SUV after it stalled Monday in the deluge on Staten Island.

“Terrible, absolutely terrible,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said as he announced that the bodies had been discovered on the third day of a search that included police divers and sniffer dogs. “It just compounds all the tragic aspects of this horrific event.”

Police said the 29-year-old mother had driven from her flooded home toward her sister’s house in Brooklyn when the car became stuck about 6:10 p.m. Monday, forcing her to confront the rising water as she clung to her boys’ arms.

“As the water swelled she lost her grip of her children and they were swept away,” police said.

In a panic, Moore climbed fences and went door-to-door looking in vain for help in a neighborhood that was presumably largely abandoned.