2009-06-26 / Top Stories

FD Heroes Pull Two From Norton Basin

By Howard Schwach

The area of Bayswater Park bordering on Norton Basin, an inlet of Jamaica Bay. The area of Bayswater Park bordering on Norton Basin, an inlet of Jamaica Bay. Local firefighters plucked a cold, shivering couple from the waters of Norton Basin in Bayswater on Monday after their kayak overturned, fire officials say. Fire Captain Walter Rogers and his Ladder 134 crew were on a routine building inspection tour on Bay 32 Street, just off Beach Channel Drive at about 2:57 p.m. on June 22, when Rogers saw the two clinging to their overturned red kayak.

The firefighters raced to the scene and stripped down to their shorts, ready to go into the choppy waters of the Jamaica Bay inlet to rescue the errant boaters.

Firefighter Randy Eichin, in the water with Firefighter William Burns, swam to the freezing duo while clutching a surfboard with a rope attached.

Eichin said that his first job was to check and make sure that there were no other victims in the water. Then, he helped the two to hold on to the surfboard.

On the other end of the line were Firefighters Dave Doxsey, Michael Ormiston and Kevin Sokol, ready to pull the two to land.

The unidentified couple, in their mid to late 30's, according to fire officials, held on to the board while the firefighters, assisted by the crews of Engines 328 and 264, pulled the three to safey.

Eichin told The Wave that he told the cold duo, "Hang on. We'll get you in and get you to the hospital."

"I was trying to be reassuring," he said. "I didn't want them to panic."

The unidentified woman was transported to St. John's Episcopal Hospital, where she was treated for hypothermia and released. Her companion reportedly refused medical attention.

Eichin says that he is proud of what he and his fellow firefighters did.

"It was a good day's work," he told The Wave.

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