Two men are recovering after getting thrown off a Jet Ski Saturday and spending a chilly summer night stranded on separate, small islands off Staten Island, authorities said.
A tugboat operator spotted one of the men, a 29-year-old, on West Bank Lighthouse Island Sunday morning and he was rescued by the FDNY's Marine Division, officials said. The man told authorities that his 47-year-old friend, who had also been on the Jet Ski, was missing and may be in the area.
NYPD Harbor, Aviation, and Emergency Services units launched an aerial search and, as they approached Swinburne Island, saw a man wearing a wet suit waving one hand from the land below.
"The crew chief said, 'There he is! There he is!'" said Sean Daly, an NYPD detective and member of the department's scuba unit who assisted in the rescue. Daly said the team looked out the helicopter window and saw the victim standing on the rocks on the north end of the island,a debris-ridden piece of land about half the size of a football field not far from the Verrazano Bridge.
"We were all very relieved he was alive," Daly said.
Daly was lowered to the island in a rescue basket. He secured the stranded skier in the basket and the man was hoisted into the helicopter. Once the victim was secured, Daly was hoisted back up. Authorities released video (above) of the dramatic rescue.
The 47-year-old man, who is from New Jersey, told rescuers he was "cold," having spent the night in low 50-degree temperatures, but otherwise had no injuries. He was treated for hypothermia at a hospital and released. The younger victim was not hurt.
Rescuers said both men seemed OK and were just happy to get off the islands. They were both wearing flotation devices, which authorities said likely helped save their lives.