SIU members aboard NY Waterway ferries have put their training to the test recently, with two different crews rescuing men who jumped into the Hudson River during the month of November.
On Nov. 3, Captain David Dort and his crew on the ferry Thomas Kean rescued a man from the Hudson off of Battery Park. The crew saw him jump from the seawall just north of the Brookfield Place/Battery Park City Ferry Terminal, and moved quickly to save him.
Deckhands Gregorio Pages and Pietro Romano deployed a Jason’s Cradle, a rollup ladder which is dropped from the bow of the boat in rescue scenarios. The crew pulled the man aboard, and attended to him until arriving at the terminal, where they handed him over to New York Police and medical personnel.
“The crew did an excellent job. They did what they were trained to do,” Dort said. “For us, this is all in a day’s work.”
This most recent rescue was Dort’s second in the last two years. In July 2016, he spotted a man in the Hudson River near West 39th Street and led his crew in the successful rescue. Deckhand Pages also took part in that operation.
Meanwhile, less than three weeks after the Kean’s recent rescue, Captain Vincent Lombardi and his crew – Deckhands Edwin Laboy and Terrence Brown – aboard the Lautenberg rescued a man dangling from the Battery Park wall along the Hudson on Nov. 21.
“I steered immediately in his direction – I knew it wasn’t some sort of stunt,” Lombardi said. “We were able to grab him right before he did let go, right before he [would have] hit the water.”
Brown said he and Laboy rushed into action, preparing for a man-overboard situation. The ferry arrived just in time, as the crew retrieved the man from the seawall.
Brown remarked on the value of the training he and the rest of the crew received at the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education, located in Piney Point, Maryland. “The training we received, like the man-overboard drill, definitely helped,” he stated. “Even though we didn’t have to get the rescue equipment out, it definitely helped prepare us. But it was a good thing we got there when we did.”
The crew calmed the man, who reportedly was having suicidal thoughts, before handing him over to the New York Police Department.
NY Waterway crews have rescued more than 250 people in the last 31 years, including 143 people during the “Miracle on the Hudson” on January 15, 2009. Lombardi and Pages were both part of the rescue effort that day.
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