Missing teacher rescued from NY Harbor

September 17, 2008 5:11:30 PM PDT
A Staten Island ferry captain rescued a 23-year-old teacher who disappeared from her Manhattan apartment. She jumped into New York harbor on Tuesday. Hannah Upp jumped into the chilly waters from a Staten Island pier around noon.

On Tuesday before she plunged into the water, she was spotted at a Dunkin' Donuts shop near the Staten Island ferry terminal.

The ferry was headed from Manhattan when someone spotted her about a mile from Staten Island, chief police spokesman Paul Browne said. The ferry captain deployed a rescue craft, and crew members pulled Upp to safety.

Upp was floating face down in the water but gasped for air, wept and passed out after she was pulled into the boat, rescuer Ephraim Washington said.

The rescue operation took about 8 minutes from the time ferry captain Chris Covella saw her through binoculars. In his more than 20 years as a ferry captain, he's been involved in only three other similar rescue operations.

"We train once a week for this, and it does pay off," he said.

She was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

She was last seen August 29. She vanished days before classes started at Thurgood Marshall Academy, and her family and friends launched a massive search. Her credit cards and personal belongings were left in her apartment.

Police say she was spotted checking her e-mail twice at an Apple store in midtown Manhattan.

The United Federation of Teachers announced a $10,000 reward earlier this month, adding to a $2,000 reward offered by the New York Police Department's Crime Stoppers unit.

Upp, who is from near Portland, Ore., was about to start her second year teaching Spanish at the Thurgood Marshall Academy and was a Teaching Fellow.

She attended Bryn Mawr College before moving to New York, where she has volunteered for AIDS organizations. She was working toward a master's degree in education at Pace University.

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