A French Angel...

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Jake Starr, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. Jake Starr

    Jake Starr

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    Jul 30, 2005
    Louisville, KY

    A Mystery Hero in Water Rescue
    by Vera H-C Chan
    8 hours ago

    617 Votes
    A slip, a scary splash, then a scream. It took just seconds for a two-year-old girl to fall 20 feet into New York's East River waters.

    Many reacted quickly to rescue 2-year-old Bridgette Sheriden, but two men reacted even faster: Bridgette's father David Anderson and a still unknown French tourist who, after helping in the rescue, walked way and took a cab to destinations unknown.

    Part of the rescue was captured on film by a freelance TV producer, himself visiting the South Street Seaport with his family. The video and a glimpse of the mystery man:

    The Good Samaritans
    The slip and fall happened on Easter weekend: The little girl and her parents were walking up the gangplank on Saturday, April 3, to board the Peking ship docked at the South Street Seaport. Bridgette slipped through the guardrail and into 48-degree waters.

    According to one eyewitness, Anderson emptied his pockets as he ran down the steps, scanned the waters, then dropped feet first after her. He emerged with Bridgette's head resting on his chest. With his right hand, Anderson held onto the dock, resisting the strong East River currents.

    Meanwhile, the Frenchman—who onlookers say rushed toward the scene without hesitation—leapt in after him into the cold waters. He apparently helped to keep the father maintain a hold over his daughter. By then, others had formed what the New York Daily News described as a "'human chain' of good Samaritan rescuers." The Frenchmen lifted Bridgette to onlookers, who passed her to her mother.

    Two heroes and an Easter miracle
    Emergency rescue workers were at hand, and a checkup at Bellevue Hospital established that Bridgette had survived the drop without injury. People have been referring to her rescue as the Easter miracle, especially given what NBC News calls the rule of 50: The average adult has a 50/50 change of surviving a 50-yard swim or 50 minutes in 50-degree water.

    Paternal instincts may have accounted for much of Anderson's quick reflexes, but Anderson also had trained as a ski patrol rescue worker in Colorado's Vail Ski Resort, according to former colleagues who spoke to the New York Daily News. Anderson himself broke his three-day silence on Monday, to talk about those stomach-churning moments. "It was just instant. I knew what I had to do," he recalled. "I just got in. I know I had to get down there."

    As for the French gentleman who leapt in, he can claim some personal thanks from Bridgette's mother. "I'd like to offer him my congratulations and best wishes, and I want to talk to him personally," she told the paper.

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