By Matthew Chayes
NEW YORK — Two NYPD cops with Long Island roots saved an unconscious little girl Saturday afternoon after she stopped breathing and turned blue on the Upper East Side, the department said.
The 15-month-old's belch brought tears of joy to her parents and the officers, one performing rescue breathing, as they rushed the toddler to the hospital.
"That young child let out a belch and that was the greatest sound that I ever heard," said Officer Michael Konatsotis, 45, who once lived in Hicksville.
Behind the wheel was Officer David Roussine, 25, a 2006 graduate of Glen Cove High School and varsity soccer player. He's been with the NYPD for about a year and a half, and Konatsotis for 17 years.
Both officers, who are assigned to the 30th precinct but were patrolling the 19th Saturday, now live in Queens.
"We were all just crying — a 45-year-old and a young guy, bawling, crying," Konatsotis said. "It was joyful."
The episode unfolded yesterday around 2 p.m. when an police radio call sent the partners to 207 E. 74th St., between 2nd and 3rd avenues. As Konatsotis and Roussine pulled up, they saw the frantic parents.
"Looking at that beautiful baby that needed dire help, Dave and I knew that our training as police officers, as fathers and as New Yorkers — and now also as humans — we had to do something, and we did," Konatsotis said.
Said Roussine: "Someone so innocent — it's really difficult to comprehend someone so young could need our help."
"I took the baby in the front seat. Dave got behind that wheel, and with the parents and all in tow we boogied to New York Hospital," Konatsotis said.
Konatsotis performed chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing. Just as they were arriving at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center on East 68th Street, the child belched, the officers said.
"That baby took a little belch there, and I said, 'My God, that beautiful little bundle of joy she's OK," Konatsotis said.
Konatsotis gave the parents a golden "30" — the cops' precinct — from his collar brass to commemorate the rescue.
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McClatchy-Tribune News Service