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Policemen knew they had no time to lose
[New York, NY]


February 02, 2001
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Policemen knew they had no time to lose
[New York, NY]

Ikimulisa Sockwell-Mason
January 31, 2001, Wednesday
Copyright 2001 N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.
The New York Post
January 31, 2001, Wednesday

(NEW YORK) -- The three Emergency Service Unit cops who went into freezing water to save five kids said they had to act quickly to reach them before they went under.

"We were in the water in a minute," said ESU cop Bill Fischer, who arrived minutes after the five broke through the ice on Bailey Pond. "We put our exposure suits on and ran because they were screaming, 'Help me, I'm drowning!'

"We had to lay down as we approached the kids and stick our hands out to them. The ice around us was breaking and we just went in and scooped the kids up," said Fischer.

"It was hard because we were falling in through the ice and trying to hold onto them. There were a lot of people on the side [who] started to pull us in," to shore with a rope, he said.

"This one turned out good," Fischer said of the rescue. "We could literally be looking for bodies at this point. These kids came real, real close to seeing their last day."

Fischer, 41, an 11-year veteran, was injured last summer when Queens madman Arthur Alalouf took on cops in a fierce gun battle that left the gunman dead and several cops wounded.

Another cop who took part in yesterday's rescue, Mike Lamantia, said the ice on the pond was only about two inches thick.

"You don't think about it, the danger," Lamantia, 43, said. "If you don't go out there, they drown."

The third ESU cop who took part in the rescue, Mike McNamara, 43, said the rescue became hair-raising as the desperate kids struggled to get out.

"One of the girls jumped on my shoulders and pushed me under," he said, adding that the water was so deep he couldn't touch bottom.





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