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August 8, 2018

Exclusive: NYPD officers recount dramatic rescue of fisherman having heart attack off NJ

NEW YORK (WABC) -- In an Eyewitness News exclusive, NYPD officers who helped save a man on a fishing boat are describing the dangerous rescue.

Dramatic video shows the NYPD Special Ops unit rapellihg from a helicopter to a fishing boat off the New Jersey coast, to help a fisherman who was having a heart attack.

A distress call, one of many, sent the NYPD quick-reaction force out over the water Tuesday afternoon to help save the man's life.

"It's something that we train constantly on and we do it so many times with moving vessels," said the pilot, Detective Christian Delacruz.

The call went to Delacruz, co-pilot Lieutenant Antonio Hernandez and tactical medic Detective Dennis Canale.

"It's something we train extensively for, both in ESU, in my unit and the Aviation Unit," said Detective Canale. "We joint train tremendously for these situations."

They found the fishing boat 'Ocean Eagle' just off of Sandy Hook.

"The tech medic and rescue specialists onto that vessel, it's a very sensitive and delicate operation," said Lt. Hernandez.

A rescue specialist was lowered first, then, as seen in video from the Harbor Unit, Detective Canale was next. He was lowered onto the deck of the boat in little more than 10 seconds as it was still moving.

"It wasn't stopped, you had to put that medic down on the deck while that ship is moving?", we asked.

"What we have to do is try to match their speed and then precisely come in and systematically lower one individual at a time," said Lt. Hernandez.

The man in distress, Detective Canale said, was the captain of the fishing boat. "Absolutely all the symptoms of a severe heart attack," he said.

A decision had to be made by all the men. "It's a very precise operation and it requires participation by everybody involved," said Lt. Hernandez.

"I have a cadre of medicines and medical gear, so I was able to stabilize him and treat him en route back to shore," said Detective Canale.

The patient was turned over to EMS and rushed to the hospital in serious but stable condition. In all, the NYPD's Aviation, Harbor and ESU with Special Operations helped to save another life.

"When a job comes over the distress frequency we are ready to do what is necessary to get the job done," said Detective Delacruz.