FDNY Paramedic Jumps into Icy Hudson to Save Man Near Pier 25

Harbor police pull a man from the Hudson River, off Pier 25, after being kept afloat by FDNY paramedic Niall O'Shaughnessy. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Dec. 30, 2017

An FDNY paramedic jumped into the frigid Hudson River near Tribeca’s Pier 25 Saturday afternoon to help save a man who, a police source said, was "inebriated" when he took a plunge into the icy waters.

Niall O’Shaughnessy, 40, was driving up the West Side Highway with his partner, Mingze Wu, when he saw NYPD officers head towards the edge of the walkway near the pier. “I had a feeling like it was going to be a river rescue so I ran over and they had already lowered a life ring to the person and as I got there he was becoming unconscious,” O’Shaughnessy told reporters. “I knew hypothermia was going to be setting in so I took off my equipment and my boots and I let them know I was going to jump in to help him stay afloat.”

With the man losing his grip on the ring and O’Shaughnessy feeling his own limbs “not working as well as they should have been,” the paramedic wrapped his arms around the man and “locked him in place” around the life ring that was still being held by NYPD officers.  

O’Shaughnessy handed the man off to Harbor Patrol officers and made his way up a ladder that had been extended by firefighters from Engine 10. He was taken to New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital where he was treated and released.

A police source identified the man who O’Shaughnessy saved as Stephen Fantozzi, 50, who, according to police, was inebriated when he jumped into the river. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition, according to the FDNY.

This was O’Shaughnessy’s second water rescue near Pier 25. In July 2015, he jumped in the river and swam to save a woman who had gone into the river and was frantically trying to hold onto a life ring.