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Cops save underwear-clad man from drowning in choppy East River waters

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Cops save underwear-clad man from drowning in choppy East River waters
Cops save underwear-clad man from drowning in choppy East River waters

A trio of NYPD officers plucked a man clad only in his underwear from the choppy waters of the East River off Queens on Thursday night, saving him before the current pulled him into the machinery of a nearby Con Edison plant.

The 26-year-old man was clinging to a sea wall in Astoria, struggling against a 6- or 7-knot current in the 68-degree water, when the cops — Officers Peter Mirro and Mark Landi, and Detective Albert Marvelli — came upon him at about 7:30 p.m.

The officers, all assigned to the NYPD’s Harbor Unit, were patrolling the river on their boat when they received the 911 call and spotted him near the Con Ed plant at 20th Ave. and Shore Blvd.

“We did see a man clinging to the bulkhead of the wall in the water for his life,” Landi said. Landi, who piloted the boat, positioned the bow of the vessel to block the current, in case the man lost his grip.

“No swimmer in the world could swim against it,” Landi said. “The current was extremely strong.”

They tossed a life ring to the man, who was visibly exhausted, and pulled him on board, then took him to the shore where an ambulance was waiting.

“He said, basically,that he was embarrassed,” Marvelli said. “He was exhausted. He had no ability to pull himself into the boat.”

The man, whose name was not released, wasn’t specific about how he ended up in the water. He said he was drinking earlier, then swam and became tired, Marvelli said.

“It’s very uncommon to get somebody alive out of the water. It feels pretty awesome,” Marvelli said. “We really got out there just in time. I don’t know how much longer he would have held on.”

If he let go, the current likely would have pulled him into the electric plant’s intake area — and that would have been fatal, the officers said.

Medics took the man, who remained conscious throughout the ordeal, to Elmhurst Hospital for treatment.

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