Main Content

news

Troy Firefighters Complete Ice Water Rescue on the Hudson River

By JEFFREY BELSCHWINDER, Senior Correspondent | January 23, 2022 | NEW YORK

Story No. 020222103

TROY, NY - On January 23rd at 3:15 P.M., the city of Troy's Police Department was dispatched to Dinosaur BBQ to check on an individual that was sitting beyond the safety rail on the Troy seawall.

Police units quickly responded to the scene and approached the individual with caution, as he was over the railing near the edge. Police units notified the sergeant of the situation and then began to talk to the individual in an attempt to bring him off the edge and back over the railing. While this was going on, the sergeant requested the fire department to be placed on standby as a precautionary measure for a possible water rescue, and told any units responding to the scene to not use any lights or sirens. The Rescue Squad, along with Truck 2, Medic 4, the City of Troy's boat, and the Battalion Chief began to assemble. Firefighters arrived on scene and made their way to the boat launch, but quickly discovered that the water was completely frozen over and there would be no way to get the boat in.

The officers on scene, who are trained in dealing with emotionally distressed individuals, were attempting to get the man to come back over the fence when he suddenly made the decision to jump into the water. The man was completely submerged under the water before coming back up. Police units kept visual and verbal communication with the individual and immediately notified the fire department that they now had an ice water rescue.

After the city of Troy's FD and Battalion Chief arrived on scene, firefighters tossed the man a life safety device attached to a rescue rope, and used a pike pole to give the individual something to hold onto until a rescuer could get into the water and secure him. Firefighters in the rear of the rescue squad coming from the boat launch hurried to get their ice water rescue suits on. After arriving on scene they raced down to where the chief was, grabbed an ice water rescue harness, and immediately began to connect to a rope system.

Troy Firefighter Rich Bellamy hopped the railing and made his way down the seawall ladder. After making it half way down he could not go any further, so he hung from the ladder, swung his body outwards towards the river, and made the jump. Firefighter Bellamy was completely submerged under the freezing cold water before popping back up and making his way to the distressed individual.

Firefighter Bellamy placed the ice water rescue harness around the individual while other firefighters started to get into position to hoist the man up. With only a few firefighters on scene, several police officers quickly sprang into action and joined the hoisting team. Troy‘s honorary fire captain, George Boon, moved the stretcher out of the way so that firefighters and police officers could pull the rope straight back.

With everyone in place, the "go" signal was given and the firefighters and police officers quickly hoisted the individual out of the water and up over the railing into the arms of the fire chief and a firefighter. One of the fire chiefs remained in contact with Firefighter Bellamy, who was still in the water, while the rescued individual was put on an awaiting stretcher and brought over to a warm medic rig.

Firefighters lowered the rescue device back down and after Firefighter Bellamy hooked himself up to it, the firefighters and police officers once again pulled the rope and the rescuer was quickly brought out of the water and put safely on the shore. The chief checked on Firefighter Bellamy since he had been submerged in the frigid water after his jump while an ambulance took off to Samaritan Hospital with the distressed individual, who was in stable condition.

The men and women of the City of Troy Fire and Police Departments, who are dedicated to protecting the residents and visitors of the City of Troy, worked together flawlessly to rescue this individual.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.