The Westchester County Police Marine Unit rescued a man in the Hudson River in Croton Friday afternoon who had fallen from his jet ski and had been adrift for 45 minutes.
Officers Willie Saez, Isai Morreira and Kirt Maddocks were patrolling the Hudson at about 4:15 p.m. when they came upon an unattended personal watercraft in the middle of the river off Croton-on-Hudson. They began a search of the area and requested the County Police Aviation Unit to respond to assist.
About 30 minutes later, the Marine Unit spotted a man down river from where the unattended jet ski was found. The man, who was wearing a personal flotation device, was struggling against the current and was extremely fatigued.
Officers brought the 56-year-old Rockland resident aboard the Marine 3 patrol boat. The Marine officers, who are also trained as EMTs, provided initial medical care.
The man told officers he had fallen off the watercraft in rough waters and been adrift for 45 minutes. Due to strong currents and windy conditions, he had been unable to swim back to the jet ski or swim to shore. Marine Unit officers brought the man back to a marina in Rockland, where he was turned over to EMS on shore.
“On multiple occasions, our marine officers have recovered Jet-Skis, kayaks and small boats that have simply come free of their moorings and drifted out into the river. But every incident is treated as a possible person in distress until we rule that out. In this incident, a diligent search of the river located a person who was in serious danger,” said Commissioner Thomas Gleason.
Gleason also noted that the man’s use of a life vest – a personal flotation device – was most likely a lifesaver in this incident.
“The incident is a reminder that every recreational boater should be wearing a PFD,” Gleason said. “Things can happen in an instant on the river, as it did when this man was thrown from his watercraft. A PFD can keep an incident like this from becoming a tragedy.”