Firefighter Rescues Man From 'Ripping' E. River

NY Post - October 12, 2009


A firefighter jumped into the East River yesterday to rescue a man being dragged by powerfully "ripping" currents.

A passer-by spotted the shirtless, 30-year-old man in the water near East 63rd Street at 5:20 p.m.

Firefighters from Ladder Co. 16 arrived minutes later, but the man, who was not identified, had already been pulled three blocks further down river.

"He was so far out that it took me a while because the current was ripping," said Firefighter Ronny Corsale, 25, who donned a wet suit and plunged into the murky waters at 60th Street.

Corsale, attached to a safety line, swam out about 200 feet before he could reach the man.

"He was very lethargic," said the 4½-year FDNY veteran. "I was talking to him. I kept saying, 'I got you. You're not going anywhere.' "

Corsale first tried to toss the flailing man a buoy, but "he kind of let go of it," he said. "I grabbed him and wrapped myself around him."

He then swam in, clinging to the man, who was taken to New York Hospital for treatment.

It was not immediately clear whether the man had fallen or jumped into the river.