ELLIS ISLAND (WABC) --Six people were rescued when their boat overturned in the waters off Ellis Island Tuesday afternoon.
Two adults and four children were quickly pulled out of the water after their 15-foot boat capsized around 2:15 p.m. Officials say a bilge pump failed, causing the boat to begin taking on water.
A National Park Service spokesman said the children were 11-year-old twins, a 9-year-old girl and a 5-year-old girl. The spokesman did not know the exact relationship, but it is believed they are all members of the same family.
The U.S. Park Police Marine Unit and NYPD Harbor Unit responded and helped with the rescues. In addition, a dock attendant for Statue Cruises, 20-year-old Kevin Suarez, jumped into the water to help. The Park Service Spokesman said Suarez was instrumental in rescuing the victims, including one of the girls who was partially trapped in the boat.
"I just started reaching in and I was happy to see her alive. She didn't have a lot of time left," Suarez said.
"The only thing I could think about was, was I going to go under, because the boat was on top of me and I couldn't get out," said Ann Victoria Rodriguez, victim. "I tried to pass through the bars, I tried to lift the boat and the handles and pass under it, and then I finally got to swim under it and get up."
All involved were taken to Jersey City Medical Center with what were described as minor injuries. There, they were met by an overjoyed mother who hugged her children following the dramatic rescue.
"We have to say thanks for the guy who jumped in the water," said Antonio Rodriguez, the father. "He helped us a lot."
Officials said rescuers arrived to the scene within two minutes, just part of why the potentially-deadly situation ultimately had a happy ending.