Hero Cops In West Point Cadets Rescue Speak Out

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The New York City police officers who risked their own lives to rescue two West Point cadets stuck on the side of a mountain spoke with CBS 2 Monday about the ordeal.

These men lived up to their motto “anytime, anywhere” when the call came in just after midnight Sunday. Officer Steve Browning, with more than two decades of experience as a helicopter pilot, was at the controls.

Two freshmen cadets were trapped on a jagged cliff on Storm King Mountain which rises about 1,300 feet over the Hudson River.

“I would say (this mission) was probably the most challenging (he’s been on),” Browning said. “We were looking at close to 50 knot winds at Kennedy Airport when we first got the phone call.”

Emergency Service Unit Medic, Detective Chris Condon was lowered to the cadets trapped below as Browning used night vision goggles in the dark hours, fighting against the relentless wind to steady the chopper.

“Basically I wanted to stop spinning around in circles. Actually I was just thinking what I was going to find, the condition of the cadets. We really didn’t have too much information other than we knew they’ve been out there eight hours,” Condon said.

Detective Fernando Almeida worked the drop line, able to place Condon on a narrow 18-inch ledge. Then the cadets, who had reportedly decided to separate from their group during training, were raised, one at a time, to safety.

They appeared to be in shock.

“They were glad to be on board. I told them they’d be warm soon and they wanted to get home,” said Medical Technician, Detective William Stevens.

Orange County’s Storm King Mountain is nearly 50 miles north of Manhattan, well outside NYPD jurisdiction, but rescuers at the scene decided this elite unit was the cadet’s only hope.

“We train relentlessly, so we do get these calls from time to time and we do go and help our neighbors out. It’s what we do,” said Captain James Coan, Aviation Unit Commander.

They didn’t hesitate when asked if they’d do it again.

The cadets were treated for hypothermia. A spokesperson for West Point said they were still in the hospital in stable condition.

  • DoDo

    Great dedicated and hard working crew. Thank you.

  • Martin

    Great press for the NYPD? Anyone believing that is misimformed.
    The storm king mountain is really just a hill anyone with a little knowledge of rappelling would have been able to rescue the cadets.after all they propable just dropped their rope it ain’t rocket science.
    Whoever made the descion to send a helicopter to do this job should not have the job of making these kind of descions especially if it was dangerous.

  • Sgt. Rock

    Were those 2 idiots trying to win a Darwin award? I trust they’re on the hook for the $$$ it cost to rescue their sorry @sses.

  • Mary Bennett Lindsey

    Nonsense, my Dad climbed that Mountain in 1925 in his grey uniform and gloves. 19 year old boys do not think of everything before they set off on an adventure. Thank God for these brave policemen and its good to know the Point still has gutsy kids who have a lot of growing up to do. You cannot watch a 19 year old every minute.

    • Puh-lease

      Is 19 the new 3?!

    • R.maynard

      no one expects to watch 19 year olds every minute but considering they are cadets and may one day soon be making some important descions i would think they would have been more responsible. sounds like they were jack @sses

  • pat

    Ray Kelly is going to have these guys transfered. Only Ray Kelly can go on TV. In the NYPD There is only room for the ego of Ray Kelly and Ray Kelly alone.

  • Barre Flynn

    That was a nice story. Especially since their lives were spared. I wonder who gets the bill for this one? I am also surprised that the military was not called in, since it would seem that they would have search and rescue capabilities. Thank God for the NYPD.

    • blossom

      FYI: The military around here have VERY OLD copters that could NOT have managed that rescue.

  • testy11

    The Teachers Unions need to learn from Cops and Firefighters. You need to do PR and not just run Ads. Hire a decent Marketing firm. This is just like in college, the Library of a University is invaluable, except they never get enough funding, but the sports team always get proper funding. Teachers are like those Librarians.

  • Ed Hart

    Why do I feel like we are not getting the whole story? Where was their unit.

    • Abe Benesch

      I agree. Seems to be some facts missing here. Maybe West Point doesn’t want certain things released due to bad publicity.

      • C.P.

        It was the a three day weekend… most cadets leave to go home or visit nearby cities. There was no training exercises going on; these cadets were on their own free time and decided they were going to be especially “motivated.”

        I think I speak on behalf of the Corps of Cadet when I say we’re a little embarrassed of these two….

  • DanTe

    Great press for the NYPD. Ray Kelly should be commended as well.

    Makes West Point look real bad, though. George Patton is spinning in his grave.

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