Woman who saved child in Hudson River speaks out

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Marcus Solis talks to the Good Samaritan who jumped in to save a 6-year old in Yonkers. (WABC)

A 40-year-old man drowned after jumping into the Hudson River to save a young boy, and his friends and family are both grieving his death and praising the honorable and heroic way in which he lost his life.

Several people jumped into the river off a pier near a marina in Yonkers Sunday after seeing 6-year-old Stephan Jones fall into the water.

Authorities said a family cookout was underway at the time, and the boy, who is non-verbal and suffers from autism, climbed a chain-link fence before falling the no-swim area off the JFK Marina.

The victim has been identified as Boyce Coleman, known as "Scoop" to his friends and family.

"He loved life, he gave life," friend William Van Buren said. "And he gave his life for a life."

Four to five people jumped in to save Stephan, who was eventually pulled to safety. Coleman helped rescue the boy, but exhausted from his efforts, he couldn't save himself.

Jenna Fanelli, 23, jumped into the Hudson River to save a 6-year-old who was drifting farther and farther from shore. By the time she reached him, someone else was was trying to help Stephan.

Fanelli wasn't sure if that person was Coleman. Her attention was focused on Stephan and getting back to shore safely. Fanelli, a certified lifeguard since the age of 16, wrapped Stephan with her left arm and swam back against the current for nearly 10 minutes.

Jones' mother, Thelma Martin, was experiencing a heartbreaking mix of emotions, grateful that her son is alive but mourning her friend who died saving him.

"It's hard, because he went to save my son, but he didn't come back with him," she said tearfully. "And it hurts. It hurts me."

Friends remember a vibrant, larger-than-life personality.

"He died doing God's work in front of everybody that he loved," friend F.W.T. said. "So it hurts, but I feel confident knowing that he's with the Lord."

Yonkers and NYPD dive teams searched river, finally recovering his body about two hours later.

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano talked about the tragedy.

"Unfortunately, one of the heroes became a victim himself," he said. "My condolences to his family. We'll let the investigation unfold and see what we need to do moving forward."

The cookout was a reunion of the School Street Houses, the Yonkers apartment complex where Coleman grew up.

The investigation is ongoing.

Jones has now been released from the hospital.
Related Topics:
missing swimmermissing persondrowninghudson riverYonkers
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