RANDALLS ISLAND, NY—A NYPD helicopter hovered over the Manhattan Bridge Thursday morning, responding to reports of a man threatening to jump.
On the ground the NYPD's elite ESU went searching for the man but couldn’t find him.
Aviation assisted by looking on the north side of the bridge and the man was found behind a cement pillar. He wasn't visible from the roadway.
The man was on the phone with 911 operators and told them he was having second thoughts. He told them he was hesitant to jump because there were pedestrians below him.
Pedestrians on Cherry St. watched as a detective distracted him and two others grabbed him. They cheered when it was clear the man was safe and in custody.
"The heights, we were dealing with a beveled ledge which was very slippery. Luckily it wasn’t raining otherwise it would’ve been much worse, everything is safety minded," said Det. John McKenna, of the NYPD's emergency services unit.
Earlier that day, trainee firefighters rescued a man.
Probationary firefighter Richard Vergara was on his way to the fire academy around 5 a.m. when he saw a man standing near the ledge of the RFK Bridge.
"I noticed what I thought was a construction worker running across the street like he was going to go off the side [of the bridge]," he said.
Fellow probationary firefighter Raunedys Pena pulled up and immediately started talking with the man.
"He told me he wasn’t on medication, he just had a lot of problems and didn’t want to be here," said Pena.
Police arrived and placed the man in custody.
Vergara has dedicated his life to public service, he's spent the past 15 years of his life in the Marines and is a former Alexandria, VA police officer.
"I did Cuba, two tours in Iraq and was deployed to Afghanistan last year," Vergara said.