East Brunswick Patrolmen Ryan Hensperger and Rob Thuring responded to the call late Sunday afternoon to find the man on the edge of the overpass on Route 18, with vehicles flying by 50 feet below. They had to think quick.
"We knew he was in the moment of crisis," Hensperger said.
After engaging him, the officers used teamwork, body language and careful strategy.
"He was receptive of me talking to him," Thuring said, "I kept moving closer and closer to him...He said a couple of things that made me realize the we were going to have to grab him."
Their only goal was the man's safety, and when that one chance came, the heroic officers made their move.
"He lifts his shirt to wipes his face, and that's when I latch on to him and Ryan latches on to him," Thuring said.
And that's when the struggle began, with the man pleading for the officer's to let him go.
"When I grabbed him, he did let go and his feet were dangling," Hensperger said. "My body started to lean over the edge."
At that moment, both officers used all their might and bring the man back over the railing to safety. They can be heard on video saying "You're OK, buddy."
"The wave of motion and relief and adrenaline, it all hits you at once," Thuring said.
This event had successful ending, but a day later, on Monday, three people drowned in a backyard pool. Thuring the first to arrive at that scene.
"These last couple of days were intense and emotional for anyone that as involved," he said. "You do train and do whatever you can. It's why you signed up in the first place, is to help people."
If you are thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Related phone numbers and information are available at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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