TRIBECA, Manhattan — An FDNY paramedic jumped into the icy waters of the Hudson River to save a drowning man on Saturday.
FDNY paramedic Niall O’Shaughnessy and his partner, Minze Wu, were driving up the West Side Highway around 2:50 p.m. when they spotted NYPD patrol cars near the river bank off of Harrison Street and West Street. They pulled over and saw a man in the river. A life ring had already been lowered for him, but O’Shaughnessy noticed that he was becoming unconscious.
“I knew hypothermia was going to be setting in, so I took off my equipment and my boots and I let them know I was going to jump in to help him stay afloat,” he said.
O’Shaughnessy jumped in, put his arms around the man, and pulled him back onto the life ring.
It was a very cold night, the high being 24° F and the low 15° F.
“I felt the cold set in about 30 seconds after I jumped in. After a minute, I could feel my arms and my hands weren’t working as well as what they should’ve been. I just know from my training hypothermia sets in that quickly,” O’Shaughnessy said.
He kept the victim secured on the life ring NYPD officers were holding. FDNY Engine 10 soon arrived and lowered a ladder. O’Shaughnessy handed the victim to officers and was able to climb up the ladder himself.
The victim is being treated at a hospital. O’Shaughnessy was treated at a hospital then returned to his station.