Early on the morning of July 20, as most New Yorkers were preparing to go to work, emergency medical technician and DC 37 Local 2507 member Niall O’Shaughnessy was already on the job – literally up to his neck in the treacherous, choppy waters of the Hudson River, trying to save a young woman who had thrown herself in only minutes before.
“I have no idea why she jumped in,” O’Shaughnessy said later. “My concern was to just get her out.”
And that’s exactly what O’Shaughnessy did.
Stationed in downtown Manhattan near the site where the World Trade Center once stood, O’Shaughnessy and his partner Moses Nelson received the call for help around 7:30 a.m. Within minutes the pair was on the scene and spotted the woman bobbing in the water hanging onto a life ring thrown to her from Parks Department employees.
O’Shaughnessy noticed that she was struggling to stay afloat when he decided to take off his boots and jump into the river. He reached the woman and managed to keep her from drowning. The pair was then pulled to shore and the young woman was taken immediately to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.
It was not the first time the Ireland-born EMT leapt into danger to save a life. Last July he teamed up with a firefighter and jumped onto the subway tracks in midtown Manhattan to save a young lady who had too much to drink and fell between two subway cars.
“This is what our members do,” said Israel Miranda, president of EMTs and Paramedics Local 2507. “I’m very proud of all our EMTs and paramedics. They’re the best.”