A group of hero cops saved the life of a man who was threatening to jump from the Verrazano Bridge Tuesday, executing a daring high-angle rescue after subduing the 62-year-old, authorities said.
Negotiators and officers from the Emergency Services Unit met up with the suicidal man mid-span on the bridge at around 11:30 a.m. after a 911 caller spotted him man perched on the bridge’s outer frame, the cops said.
That’s when the officers suited up and went to work trying to talk the man off the ledge 300 feet above the treacherous waters of New York Harbor.
“We engaged him in conversation,” said ESU officer Vlad Green, 30. “I ended up going out on the beam where he was standing.”
The cops then began the long, delicate process of getting to know the man in an effort to earn his trust.
Hostage negotiating team Lieutenant Jack Cambria said the man told the team that he was having “dire financial problems,” and had “no family.”
“His feet were half-way off the girder,” Cambria said. “I asked him to take one step forward and assured we would not be able to rush that far.”
“I told him, ‘There’s no guarantee if you decide to do this that you’re going to be successful,’” he added. “I’ve seen more than my share of people who jump and are not successful and are disfigured for life. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”
Officer Green said the man appeared as though he was ready to jump but then began walking toward the officers, who grabbed him and walked him to safety.
“The guy looked like he was ready. He had his feet off the beam,” Green said. “I saw him take a deep breath, closing his eyes. A tear come out on his face. Then he was walking toward [us] at which point we grabbed him.”
The daring feat on the bridge was the first such rescue for eight year veteran Frank Gigliotti, 41, who admitted he was a little nervous at first, “but once you’re out there, talking to the [suicidal man] and Vlad’s partner was telling us what to do and how to handle ourselves out there, you’re more engaged with the situation.”
The team then strapped the man into a harness and walked him to safety.
He was taken to Lutheran hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Republished with permission of The New York Post.