Three members of Marine 1 are heroes for rescuing a 7-month pregnant woman from the waters off of Battery Park City.
On September 16th, 2008 at about 10:53 pm, Lt. Finer of Marine 1 Alpha was busy doing paperwork when he heard over the NYPD’s S.O.D. frequency a report of a woman in the waters of the Hudson River near North Cove Marina. Taking the initiative, he turned out the members of Marine 1 Alpha and radioed their response and the particulars to the Manhattan Borough dispatcher. The weather conditions that night were windy and the water was severely choppy and extremely dark. Marine 1 Alpha responds with an officer and 2 firefighters, one firefighter pilots the boat and the other firefighter performs technical water rescues. While FF Michael Lambert piloted the boat, FF Timothy Moynihan knew he might have to enter the water, so he began to don his dry suit. Upon arrival to the reported area, an intensive primary search was conducted of the dark choppy water but with no results. In desperation, the members began calling out into the darkness while Lt. Finer scanned the area with a high intensity hand held light. With what seemed to be an eternity, the victim was spotted in the beam of light. The victim’s arm could be seen half raised above the water with her head under the water. She was trying to signal for help in response to the verbal calls made from the boat. The victim was 30 yards from the boat and 200 yards from the shore in a fast moving current. She was slipping under the water.
FF Lambert quickly moved the boat into position for a rescue. By this time she was completely under water. Knowing if he moved his light, the victim might be lost forever, Lt. Finer continued to shine his light in the area where the victim was. This left nobody aboard the boat to attach FF Moynihan to the tether line and perform the function of his safety man.
FF Moynihan, having been trained in swift water rescue, knew all too well that the life of the victim would be lost if he did not act fast. Without regard to his own safety, FF Moynihan plunged himself into the dark, fast moving river without being tethered. FF Moynihan swam to the area where Lt. Finer’s light was shinning.
The victim was now a few feet beneath the surface. FF Moynihan was able to reach under the water and grab hold of the victim’s hair, bringing her to the surface. He positioned her head above the water. Struggling, he swam against the current and brought the victim to the boat. Upon nearing the boat, FF Moynihan informed Lt. Finer that he believed the victim to be pregnant. Exhausted, Moynihan hoisted the victim onto the deck of the boat. Once on the deck, FF Moynihan began patient assessment. He opened her airway causing her to vomit, then breathe.
Lt. Finer informed the assigned battalion of the situation and that EMS would be needed forthwith. Lt. Finer also informed the battalion to meet at North Cove Marina, the closest point for a water to land transfer. FF Moynihan continued first aid in an attempt to save the life of the victim and her unborn child even though he was exhausted. The members of Marine 1 Alpha exhibited the finest traditions of the FDNY in effecting the rescue of Latisha Rawlings and her unborn baby. FF Moynihan unselfishly put himself in a dangerous position without the safety of a tethered line in extreme water conditions. Mrs. Rawlings and her baby are alive today because of his actions.