NUTLEY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A high school crew team in New Jersey rowed right into an emergency on the Passaic River.

While out practicing, the team found a man in the water, and saved his life.

The practice started out like any other for the Nutley High School crew team. They launched from their boathouse in Kearny and headed down the Passaic River and then back again.

As the team approached the Bridge Street Bridge — which connects Harrison to East Newark — they heard splashing in the river.

“I saw a splash, and splashing, followed it,” Phil Amiths told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.

“I don’t know if he couldn’t swim or what, he was definitely struggling,” Michael Dehaas added.

Yesterday, just before 5 p.m., Harrison police said a call came in about a suicidal man getting ready to jump. The first officer on scene grabbed hold of the man’s arm, but could not hold on. The man fell, that’s when teammates Dehass and Amiths heard him struggling to stay afloat.

“Happened so fast we all just reacted,” Dehass said.

They motored to the man.

“Once we got closer it was a shock,” Amiths explained.

And threw him a flotation device.

“He was struggling even with the flotation device,” he continued.

Still, their coach said she can’t help but feel great pride about the way her boys reacted.

“I’m always proud of them, but they knew someone was in trouble, and their first instinct was to help them. I couldn’t ask for anything else,” Judy McIntyre said.

Two young men and their fearless leader can now proudly say they saved a man’s life.

Once the man was safely ashore, the crew team continued with practice. The man they rescued was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital and was not seriously injured.

 

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