A Nassau County police officer jumped into an Oceanside waterway to save a suicidal man who tried to hang himself on a bridge with jumper cables early Wednesday, police said.
“This is the real superhero deal,” Nassau acting Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said while detailing the rescue at an afternoon news conference. “ . . . These are real heroes, that was a real victim and what they did was the real deal.”
Officers from the Fourth and First precincts responded to a 911 call about a man threatening to jump off the Atlantic Avenue-Brower Avenue Bridge about 12:49 a.m.
The officers saw the 35-year-old man lower himself from the lower portion of the span with the cables around his neck.
Unable to pull up the man, the officers had to act quickly when the man lost consciousness. Ryder said they cut the cables — dropping the man roughly 12 feet into the water.
“He was lifeless,” said Officer Joseph Monez, a three-year Nassau police veteran, who took off his shirt and bulletproof vest and jumped in the water.
“His head was face down in the water,” Monez said of the man. “I grabbed him and turned him over — he was completely blue.”
Monez swam back to shore with the man, and other officers administered CPR.
Police medic William Rudnick, a supervisor, said the man woke up after getting oxygen and was doing “significantly better” later in the day.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano presented citations to Monez, Rudnick and several other officers and medics who helped with the rescue.
Monez, who worked for the NYPD for four years before joining the Nassau department, said he ingested salt water and was treated for exhaustion after the rescue.
He said he and fellow officers worked as team to save the man.
“None of us had to say anything, we just get it done,” Monez said. “The teamwork is just instinctual.”