HELL’S KITCHEN, Manhattan (PIX11) — The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is now searching for seven young people who investigators say beat and stabbed an openly gay man in an apparently unprovoked attack. The survivor of that attack is speaking out against the people who he said surrounded him and treated him cruelly. He’s also thanking a pair of strangers who stepped in, took action and may have saved his life.

Rafael Ribot, 44, described the attack that started around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. “They go from being in front of you, to being around you. And the words turn into fists, and then it becomes a knife, and then possibly another knife.”

Ribot said that he was beaten and kicked repeatedly and stabbed more than once, in the incident that’s being investigated as a possible bias crime.

Ribot said that he was walking up Tenth Avenue near 44th Street when the group of seven young people, including at least one woman, used anti-LGBTQ slurs repeatedly against him while he was talking on his cellphone.

Ribot responded to the slurs and, according to investigators, the people in the group beat him and stabbed him in the leg, using at least one knife. The attack left him with multiple injuries, he said.

“I have a small contusion,” Ribot said, pointing to a bandage over his left eyebrow. It begins the list of injuries he sustained. “There’s actually a lot more pain right here,” he continued, pointing to his right temple, “because I was hit repeatedly right here.”

He then clutched his left thigh. “I have a large, four-inch deep puncture wound in my leg,” he explained.

That deep wound left blood splattered on the sidewalk on Thursday afternoon, half a day after the attack. It could have led to a significant loss of blood if it weren’t for two people — total strangers — responding to the incident. When they showed up, minutes after the first punches landed, the group of attackers ran away.

Surveillance video shows what happened next. The good Samaritans used a belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, and they got Ribot to nearby Mount Sinai West hospital. Their quick action may have saved his life.

The day after, while still wearing his hospital emergency bracelet, Ribot thanked the people who never identified themselves.

The native New Yorker said that he’d considered moving away in the last few years, and that the strangers’ act of kindness was a reminder of why he’d chosen to stay.

“This is a city about people,” he said, “where people come to be who they are. It was nice to see that that can still be.”

Ribot said that police had been supportive of him and active in their investigation. He added that he was convinced that his attackers would be caught soon.

“You did this, for what?” he said, referring to the people who attacked him.

For the good Samaritans who stepped up to help him in an emergency, Ribot had another message.

“Thank you for reminding me what the city’s about,” he said.

Police said the group fled eastbound on 44th Street and then southbound on Ninth Avenue after the attack.

“The report is so upsetting, given what is going on in this country with the attacks on the LGBTQ community,” said New York City Council member Erik Bottcher, who represents the neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. “And so much of the hateful rhetoric that’s happening.”