TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Troy firefighter jumped into below-freezing waters to save a man after he struggled to stay alive in the Hudson River. On the afternoon of January 24, Troy Fire Department received a call about an individual who had crossed the railing of the Hudson River near Dinosaur Barbeque and plunged into the water.
Time was working against the Troy Rescue Squad as they rushed to the scene. As the seconds ticked by, below freezing temperatures meant the possibility of hypothermia or worse for the man clinging to a pole on the sea wall.
After the crew attempted to pull him up with a rope and a life safety device, the firefighters decided the best course of action was to have a team member go into the water to assist. Rich Bellamy was the firefighter chosen to suit up in the yellow ice rescue onesie. The jumpsuit is made to insulate firefighters from the cold temperatures and help them float.
“When I was able to drop in, he wasn’t moving much. You can tell he was definitely very cold.” Bellamy said. “I was able to get the life safety device around him, and we were was able to make a quick hoist.”
Troy Fire Chief Eric McMahon said Troy Firefighters go through rigorous ice training every Spring where they train in cold temperatures in suits like Bellamy used just this week. But McMahon said his firefighters are heroes every day.
“They are helping people; they’re assisting people, bringing them to the hospital on the worst day of their life. I could not be more proud of our guys,” McMahon said.
Bellamy was a humble hero when he spoke to NEWS10’s Stephanie Rivas. He often spoke of the importance of the team effort and that risking his life to save another’s is simply his job. “We’re here to help, and that’s what we did,” he said.
Bellamy added that days like January 24 are why he became a firefighter in the first place. After the rescue, the man’s fiancée called to share her gratitude with him and let him know the man is recovering and grateful.