NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A New York state trooper and a passerby leaped into action to save an elderly man trying to jump off the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge over the weekend, and the dramatic moments were caught on camera.
It was a hair-raising few minutes when a matter of seconds changed lives Sunday afternoon.
Police received a call around 2:30 p.m. that a man was going over the railing on the Brooklyn-bound lower level, and the video shows a group of men holding the 79-year-old man who was dangling off the side of the bridge.
Thirty-year-old Tuli Abraham and his wife were driving over the bridge towards Brooklyn. They said they usually take the upper level, but an accident force them to alter their normal route -- a move that helped save the unidentified suicidal man.
Abraham was in the far right lane, mid span, when the car in front of him suddenly stopped.
The driver got out, and when Abraham asked what he was doing, the man said he was going to jump.
Abraham quickly got out and rushed towards the man. By then, the man was over the railing with his hands raised in the air, seemingly ready to jump.
But in that instant, in the blink of an eye, Abraham was able to grab his belt.
"I just stopped, swung open the door and grabbed him," he said. "(He was saying) that he was sick and we should let him go. I was trying to get a grip and hold onto his jacket, his belt."
The man fought back for about 30 seconds, but Abraham held on as his wife called 911. She then began recording the incident.
State trooper Joshua Kaye happened to driving by and spotted Abraham holding the man. He stopped and joined in the effort.
"We were tucked over the railing, holding him, trying to pull him up," state trooper Joshua Kaye said. "My footing wasn't as good as I thought, but he was, he didn't want to come back up...He already had a leg over, ran up, grabbed him just as he put a second foot over the guardrail."
Off-duty officer Michael Cyetta rushed to help, then more NYPD officers with the Emergency Services Unit.
"I was able to reach down with my right hand and grab the (emotionally disturbed person) by the belt and assist pulling him over," NYPD Officer George Bonner said.
Together, they all managed to pull the man back over the railing.
"It was amazing of see everyone coming together in a split second," Abraham said. "That would have been a much different story."
It is a roughly 230-foot drop from the bridge, and Kaye says that usually when they spot an empty car on the bridge, the next call is sadly to the harbor unit to recover a body.
But not this time.
"This is the first time I was actually there, at the right time and place, to prevent that from getting to that point," Kaye said. "And I'm happy about that."
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