NYPD releases video of New Jersey helicopter rescue

N.J. Burkett reports on the successful rescue of a female hiker who had broken her ankle while hiking near the Hudson River. (WABC)
May 12, 2014 3:57:11 PM PDT
Police have released video of a dramatic NYPD Aviation Unit helicopter rescue along the Hudson River over Alpine, New Jersey.

A woman suffered a broken ankle while hiking and needed to be pulled from a cliff about 200 feet from the ground.

The chopper hovered about 50 feet above the woman, who was loaded into a rescue basket and lifted to safety. She was taken to Nyack Hospital, where she is in stable condition.

The rescue happened around 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

The officers were identified as Seth Levinstein, Derin Devuono, Edgar Burroughs and Christos Tzavelis, all of Air Sea Rescue 14, and Antonio Hernandez, Christian Delacruz and James Coan, of Aviation 19.

"We were on the scene within 12 minutes," said NYPD crew chief, Detective Christopher Tsavelis.

Levinstein, the pilot, guided the chopper to within 20 feet of the cliff, so officer Burroughs could be lowered to reach the victim.

"Our aircraft is pointed in this direction and we have our blades spinning this way, so we can only move over so far before we're making contact," said Levinstein.

With a stiff breeze off the cliff, and very little margin for error, the team went to work. Crew chief Tzavelis lowered Edgar, while co-pilot Devuono coordinated the air to ground communications.

"I was a little scared, it's not something I do every day. Actually it was my first time going down like that," said Burroughs.

After several tense minutes: success! The injured hiker was lifted off the cliff in a basket, and safely placed in the chopper.

"She seemed Ok, she knew what was going on, I communicated with her and she gave me a thumbs-up," said Burroughs.