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December 17, 2018

Hero cops rescue two distressed people from Verrazano, Williamsburg Bridges

September 30, 2018
NYPD(L) ESU Det. Thomas Longa. Center is NYPD ESU Det. Christopher Williams. Right is NYPD ESU Officer Dan Dongvort. (Trevor Kapp for New York Daily news)

Two people who almost jumped to their deaths over the weekend now have a second chance at life — thanks to a couple of hero cops who pulled them to safety.

MTA Bridge and Tunnel Officer James Pokruss was in his patrol car on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge heading towards Staten Island on Saturday when he saw a woman exit a dark blue SUV around 7 p.m.




“My first thought was that it was just a disabled vehicle,” Pokruss told the Daily News Sunday. “But then she started walking towards the front of the vehicle, sort of away from me, which immediately caused alarms to go off.”

The 57-year-old woman had one foot over the railing when Pokruss got out of his car and urged her to get down.

“I said, ‘No, no, no, don’t do that,’” the six-year MTA veteran recalled. “She was straddling the guardrail, ready to fall off, when I managed to grab her just in time.”

The woman, who lives on Staten Island, didn’t say a word as Pokruss soothed her. “I said, ‘You’ll be okay, you’ll be okay,’ and just held her.”

She remained dazed as medics took her to Richmond University Medical Center. Authorities are investigating whether she was on drugs, sources said.

The woman seemed determined to take the plunge, Pokruss said, and would’ve done so had he not shown up in time.

“It’s a shame, you know. Suicide impacts not only the person but the loved ones at home. It’s a horrible thing,” Pokruss said.

Thanks to him, the woman will celebrate her 58th birthday next week — but Pokruss doesn’t consider himself a hero.

“I did what any officer would’ve done in my situation, or any decent human being coming up on a person in distress.”

On Sunday morning, several NYPD Emergency Service Unit detectives rescued a distressed man who threatened to jump off the Williamsburg Bridge.

Det. Christopher Williams was patrolling with his partner, Det. Thomas Longa, when they got a call around 9:15 a.m. about an emotionally disturbed person perched on the bridge.

“As we were coming up the FDR Drive, my partner, Det. Longa, noticed an individual on the cables,” Williams said. “We came to the foot of the Manhattan side of the bridge, grabbed our equipment and made our way up the walkway.”

Longa climbed up the cables to meet the man, who was “extremely emotionally distraught.”

“I tried to establish a rapport with him, and I also mentioned that nothing that’s going on in his life would be worth ending it for,” he recalled.




After a tense 75-minute standoff, rescue workers got a safety harness around the man, and brought him down to safety.

“Once we got him a little lower and he was able to recognize he was actually going to get some help, he was very thankful,” said Longa, a 22-year NYPD veteran.

Medics took the man to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

“Outstanding work,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill tweeted Sunday. “Every day, #NYPD cops perform amazing acts of bravery and heroism, all in the name of keeping NYers safe.”




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