Tue, Aug 01, 2006
Rescue Woman From River
If you ask the New York Daily News... New York Police aviation
officers Buonanno and Dennis DeRienzo are heroes, plain and
The two officers were on patrol over Manhattan on July 5...
flying about 1,400 feet above the site where the World Trade Center
once stood. That's when they got a call from dispatch... someone
had seen a body floating in the rain-swollen Harlem River.
The two flying cops responded quickly... arriving over the spot
where the body had been spotted in minutes flat. At first, they
couldn't find anyone... but a 911 caller insisted there was someone
floating in the river.
Shortly after, Buonanno saw a face in the water. It was 61-year
old Iris Jimenez.
Buonanno turned control of the Agusta A119 over to DeRienzo, the
department's chief pilot. He realized Iris was so exhausted from
trying to keep her head above water that she wouldn't last much
Buonanno stepped out on the helo's skid as DeRienzo moved the
aircraft to within inches of the water's surface. Iris, however,
was so tired she couldn't raise her arms so Buonanno could grab
The woman in the water
and the helicopter just inches above continued to move
downstream... and now, terrain was becoming a real problem. With
rocks and trees and powerlines looming ahead... Buonanno did the
only thing he could -- he grabbed the woman by the hair and
But he couldn't haul her in. So Buonanno inflated his life vest
and jumped in the water. He held onto the woman and swam to
shore... where his fellow police officers helped him up the
slippery rocks and got the woman to a hospital.
For this, the Daily News named Officers Buonanno and DeRienzo
its heroes of the month... for their skilful aviating and their
willingness to put themselves into harm's way to save a life. ANN
would like to add our kudos to that, as well... although the
officers might say it was simply 'all in a day's work.'
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