16-year-old rescued after falling through icy pond in Central Park

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Josh Einiger has the story. (Photo/Danielle Bonet)

Monday night, police taped off the small pond at the southeast corner of the park and had cops on post to make sure someone else doesn't make the same mistake.

After all, the ice here is no so thin it couldn't support a raccoon. It fell through and was struggling in the freezing water.

Now imagine that was a 16-year-old boy.

The incident happened in the park near East Drive and East 60th Street around 1:15 p.m.

Police say witnesses flagged down nearby Critical Response Command officers, who first attempted to a ladder to stretch across the ice. When that didn't work, officers Anthony DiSpigna and Eddie Radoncic shimmied out without any gear and pulled the child to safety.

"We're here to save people when we put this uniform on that's our priority," said Officer Eddie Radoncic, NYPD.

"Time being of the essence, the young man in the water for quite a period of time, Officer Radoncic took one length of the ladder, took his gun belt off, walked out onto the ice with the ladder, slid the length of the ladder to the individual," NYPD Counterterrorism Unit Chief James Waters said. "The young man was able to grab the rung of the ladder. Officer Radoncic then started to pull, and pulled him out of the water."

The rescue was captured on camera. Watch the unedited video here:
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Unedited video from the NYPD shows an ice rescue in a Central Park pond on Monday, March 20, 2017.

The victim did not fall completely into the water, but was holding onto ice when the surface broke.

"He was soaking wet, he turned blue, he was shaking and in shock," Radoncic said. "We were able to comfort him and take him to the hospital. He's doing OK."

"Bystanders were giving us clothes, we took off some of our clothes, we got some blankets and heat packs trying to warm him up," Officer Dispigna said.

He was taken to NYU Medical Center and is listed in stable condition.

One of the officers partially broke through himself, but he was not seriously injured.

This is the same pond where two teens fell on Sunday and seven teens fell last month.

"Parents need to speak to their children about the dangers," Waters said. "We talk about water safety in the summer time with swimming pools and lakes. They should also talk to their children about the dangers of ice and breaking ice. Had it not been for these offices here right now, the results could have been tragic."

City officials responded in a statement.

"We take these incidents seriously and are investigating new methods to prevent people from going out on dangerous frozen ponds," assistant commissioner of NYC Parks Michael Dockett said. "In the meantime, Parks will increase its uniformed presence at the pond to deter visitors from such activities."

Now there is a note of caution. Though when that raccoon made it out of the water, it didn't think too highly of that yellow caution tape and it scampered right back in.
Related Topics:
central parkteenteenagerrescuenypdNew York CityUpper East Side
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