Dramatic helicopter rescue saves NJ firefighters in boat from waterfall
🚁 A team of Clifton firefighters performing a boat rescue went over a waterfall
🚁 A State Police helicopter was needed to save the rescuers
🚁 Scroll down to see video of the harrowing rescue 👇
CLIFTON — A pair of firefighters performing a boat rescue became stranded at the bottom of a waterfall in the Passaic River and needed the help of a State Police helicopter to get back to dry land.
Clifton Fire Chief Frank Prezioso told New Jersey 101.5 that a rescue team from the fire department went out on the water Wednesday afternoon. The plan was to rescue a small group of maintenance workers, also on a boat, that had gotten stuck near the Dundee Dam.
Suddenly around 3 p.m., the firefighters' 16-foot flat-bottom boat was caught by the current. One firefighter jumped out, but two others were taken with the rescue boat over the steep falls.
The boat stayed upright but became partially submerged in the river at the edge of the next, smaller drop. Fortunately, a State Police helicopter was in the area and made its way over to help, which took a couple of hours.
Once the helicopter arrived, a rescuer repelled down around 100 feet from the helicopter to the boat to grab one firefighter and bring him up, the Associated Press reported.
A few complications made it trickier to get back to the boat. But after a couple of tries, the second firefighter was also rescued.
Fortunately, no one was injured, including the firefighters and maintenance crew, Prezioso said. The chief added that both firefighters are "in good spirits" as of early Thursday afternoon.
Video of the second rescue is available below.