New York City Police Department

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Press Release | NO. 2004-022

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Press Release # 022
Monday, February 9, 2004

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly Presents Five Officers With Certificates For Their Participation In The Rescue Of Four U.S. Navy Personnel On January 15, 2004

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today presented five members of service with certificates recognizing their role in the rescue of four U.S. Navy servicemen on January 15, 2004. The presentation ceremony was held at One Police Plaza.

The five members are Det. Anthony Cassillo, Aviation Unit; PO Anthony Moccaldi, Aviation Unit; PO William Mundy, Aviation Unit; PO Robert Harris, Scuba Unit; and PO John Drzal, Scuba Unit.

New York City Police Commissioner Kelly said: "Their actions are representative of the finest tradition of the New York City Police Department. They are to be commended for their actions above and beyond the call of duty. On behalf of New York City, I thank them for their bravery and dedication."

On January 15TH of this year, the Aviation Unit was contacted by the U.S. Coast Guard regarding two U.S. Navy launches trapped in the ice off of Sandy Hook, NJ. The two Navy launches, each with a two person crew, were on a routine patrol when one vessel experienced engine trouble and then became stuck in the ice. When the second vessel attempted to aid the first, she also became stuck.

The two Navy crews worked for hours in an attempt to free themselves from the icy trap. The weather was bitterly cold and after a long struggle against the elements, the four Navy personnel were starting to show signs of hyperthermia.

Just after 9 p.m., the Navy personnel contacted the U.S. Coast Guard who in turn contacted the Aviation Unit. A helicopter was dispatched and once on the scene, the members of the Aviation and Scuba Unit immediately recognized the seriousness of the situation and initiated a rescue operation. The Aviation crew prepared to hoist the Navy personnel while the Scuba Unit members readied themselves in the event they had to go in to the icy water.

One by one, the Navy personnel were hoisted onto the helicopter. They had very low body temperatures and suffered from cold exposure. They were transported to Staten Island University Hospital North. The four, as well as PO Harris and PO Drzal, were treated and released.

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