NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A group of tourists waiting to board a tour boat jumped into action when they saw a man fall into the water near Pier 84 on Thursday morning.
Investigators said he fell into the water from Pier 84 near 43rd Street and 12th Avenue shortly after 9 a.m.
Witnesses were waiting to board a Circle Line ferry when the saw the man slip.
“I turned around and I saw the person topple over into the water,” said Claire Dodwell.
Moments later, witnesses said a group of Good Samaritans formed a human chain to help.
“I turned around and there was a human chain (that) had formed, dangling into the water, holding onto the person. There was about four people deep holding onto him,” said Dodwell.
But the man kept slipping as the group couldn’t hold onto him, and the current began pulling him upstream.
“Before the ladder came there was no way of getting him — his arms were up trying to get out, but they went over just to grab him. So it was good to see everyone was trying to get together to get him out quickly and safely,” he said.
Firefighters arrived on the scene and sent a diver to make sure the man was OK.
“He was beginning to get fatigued. Our biggest concern was making sure he didn’t slip underneath the surface or drift underneath the pier,” the diver told reporters.
He was helped onto a ladder and pulled from the water.
“He just thanked us for getting there,” the diver added.
“He seemed very appreciative and thankful to everyone that rendered EMS,” said FDNY Lt. John McCann. “He was very polite to them and polite to police was just happy to be out.”
Police say the man was taken to a local hospital in stable condition, but they continue to investigate exactly how the man ended up in the water.