1. Skateboarders, FDNY Rescue 7 From Icy Pond in Central Park
By the time FDNY arrived at the park by 59th Street and Central Park South, the kids, ranging in age from about 10 into the teens, had been pulled out of the water, according to two passersby who said they rescued the children.
The good Samaritans, Bennett Jonas and Ethan Turmbull, told reporters they were skating nearby when they saw the kids dancing on top of the ice, then suddenly plunging into the water.
"I look over, I saw six heads just trying to get to the shore," Jonas said. "The back one was probably a good 20 yards from dry land."
Jonas dived in as Turmbull stood by to grab them.
"The last two at the end, the kid at the end was unconscious," Turmbull said. "[Jonas] got him out, he was kind of out of breath, and [Jonas] threw him to me. I just kind of minded him until he came to."
Jonas said the boy had been so far out in the water he wasn't sure he would be able to get to him. Fire officials estimated the pond was as deep as 18 feet in the middle.
"The only thing you could see was the back zipper of his backpack," he recalled. "I grabbed his backpack not knowing if there was a body on it."
FDNY Deputy Chief John Schof said by the time firefighters showed up, seven people were coming out of the water. EMS rendered first aid, and the people were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries, mostly hypothermia-related. Divers went into the water to make sure no one else was in the pond.
Schof acknowledged the "reports [that] there may have been a couple of passersby that helped some people out," but said he couldn't confirm the details because "we weren't there at that time."
Still, Jonas and Turmbull spoke to reporters from a caravan of fire trucks near the scene; a visibly shivering Jonas was wearing an FDNY sweatshirt he said he was given by firefighters because his clothing was soaked.
Schof says the incident is a reminder that going out on the ice is not a good idea.
"When the ice is somewhat thicker, it may work because it distributes people's weight, but on this ice it was very thin, and it's not going to hold anything," Schof said.
Jonas, a native of San Clemente, California, who now lives in midtown, and Turmbull, of Sydney, Australia, say they happened to be in the right place at the right time.
2. Man who stranded pickup on jetty during rough seas rescued by helicopter
An unidentified man who defied National Weather Service warnings about rough seas at Humboldt Bay near Eureka, California, drove his truck out on to the North Jetty yesterday morning and had to be airlifted off by helicopter.
According to the Eureka Times-Standard, high winds and rough seas created a stunning seascape at Humboldt Bay in Northern California on the morning of January 26. As a crowd gathered to take in the spectacle, an unidentified man drove his red, Arkansas-plated Nissan pickup on to the North Jetty despite the heavy surf and numerous NWS warnings. Almost immediately the truck and driver became stranded on the jetty. They were battered by powerful waves and soon became stranded. A couple walking their dog near the jetty immediately called 911.
"I thought he might be was suicidal until I saw the Arkansas plates," local photographer Tyler Whiteside told the Lost Coast Outpost. "He just didn't know."
Around 11:30 am, the U.S. Coast Guard received a call about the truck on the jetty. USCG Sector Humboldt Bay spokesperson Ensign Neil Romans told the Times-Standard a rescue helicopter and a motor life boat were immediately dispatched to the scene. Unable to reach the jetty by sea or land, the Coast Guard decided on the helicopter, and within 35 minutes the Nissan driver was being winched aboard the chopper in a rescue harness. The driver was unhurt in the incident, but the Nissan remains stranded on the jetty where the sea water is surely doing it no good. To add insult to injury, the driver will most likely be charged for his rescue to the tune of an estimated $8,000 - $15,000, depending on the helicopter used.
People intentionally driving their vehicles into the ocean happens more often than you might think. Back in November, an Uber driver misjudged the tide on a causeway and got stranded by rising waters. Then there was this guy who buried his Jeep Wrangler at sea trying to show off to onlookers, and the Cornish motorist who drove through a massive storm surge like it was no big thing back in April.
3. 'She is a true hero': Good Samaritan bravely comes to the rescue of a police officer being beaten with his own baton and JUMPS on the suspect's back until back-up arrives
A Louisiana woman is being hailed as a hero after police say she saw an officer struggling with a suspect and jumped on the man's back to help the officer subdue him.
Vickie Williams-Tillman, 56, was driving to a store Sunday morning, with gospel music on her radio, when she spotted the Baton Rouge officer, Billy Aime, and the suspect, according to The Advocate.
Baton Rouge Police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely says the suspect grabbed the officer's baton and repeatedly bashed him on the head with it, and also tried to grab the officer's gun.
Police say that after Williams-Tillman jumped on the man's back, police backup arrived and the suspect was apprehended after being shot with a stun gun.
Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome called the woman a courageous hero.
The incident occurred just before 8:00am on Sunday, when a 44-year-old police officer found the suspect, 28-year-old Thomas Bennett, asleep in his car.
The officer allegedly noticed drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.
When the officer approached Bennett's car to make an arrest, Bennett is alleged to have become violent.
Bennett allegedly grabbed the officer's baton and began hitting him over the head.
He also took the officer's flashlight and radio, according to the arrest report.
Bennett also allegedly reached for the officer's gun.
‘[Maybe an] angel, whatever it was…God was watching down on both of us and told her to stop,’ Aime told WAFB.
Seeing the scuffle unfold, Williams-Tillman initially pulled up alongside the police officer, rolled down the window, and asked if he needed help.
When the officer didn't respond, Williams-Tillman 'locked eyes' with him and realized that he could not speak.
That is when she sprung into action. She called 911 and notified the police that an officer needed help.
Immediately afterward, police say that she stepped out of her car and jumped on Bennett's back, helping to subdue him.
The officer said that Williams-Tillman may have saved his life.
‘Next thing I knew she was pulling the suspect’s hand off of my gun,’ Aime said.
‘Without her stopping, I can’t tell you what the outcome would have been.’
'I could see in [the officer's] eyes he needed help,' said Williams-Tillman.
'You don't have time to think about it … I did what God needed me to do.'
'It was something that went through my soul,' she said. 'You don't think about the risk.'
More police arrived as backup and took the suspect into custody.
Bennett faces charges including aggravated battery, disarming a police officer, battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, and drug possession.
A spokesperson for the Baton Rouge Police Department said the officer suffered injuries to his head.
'Vickie Williams-Tillman epitomizes the true Good Samaritan,' Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome said in a statement.
'She reached out and offered a courageous and unconditional response to the officer. Ms. Williams-Tillman is a hero and demonstrates the true meaning of loving God and loving your neighbor.'
The BRPD hailed Williams-Tillman on its Facebook page, posting a message of thanks that generated over 7,000 likes and 2,100 shares.
'Early this morning one of our officers performed a traffic stop just before 8am in the 8400 block of Harry Drive, finding drugs in the man's vehicle,' the BRPD wrote.
'Our officer tried to secure the man in handcuffs when the driver became aggressive. The 28-year-old man, grabbed the officer's baton and used it to repeatedly hit the officer in the head.'
'As the officer struggled with his assailant, 56-year-old Vickie Williams-Tillman saw that our officer needed help.'
'Ms. Williams-Tillman immediately called for more police but then went so much further.'
'Risking her own safety she jumped out of her vehicle and onto the back of the 28-year old assailant. Ms. Williams-Tillman was able to help hold off the assailant until other officers arrived.'
'For going above and beyond in that moment to help our officer and possibly save his life we are forever grateful to you Ms. Vickie! For showing so much love and concern for one of our officers BRPDSalutes you!'
4. Snowboarder buried alive after leaping 30ft into deep snow is saved by friend in dramatic rescue
An experienced snowboarder had to be rescued by fellow thrillseekers after he was buried under heaps of snow for 10 minutes.
Mac Jacobson, who has been snowboarding for 12 years, was on the slopes with his friend at Squaw Valley in California when he dropped from a 30ft cliff.
He landed on his head, plunging his whole body under several feet of snow - leaving him helpless and stranded.
His worried friend, Stephen Boyd, rushed over to him but could only see his snowboard which was still attached to his feet.
He asked Mr Jacobson if 'he could breathe' and was relieved when his friend replied that he could and that he was not injured.
The video captured on a GoPro, attached to Stephen's chest, captured the moment he rushed towards Mr Jacobson who was completely buried in the thick snow.
His point of view footage shows him frantically trying to dig out his friend with his hands and skiing poles.
After nearly ten minutes, he succeeds in digging Mr Jacobson out from the deep snow.
Explaining the harrowing incident, Mr Jacobson said: 'I was sending a 30ft or so drop but clipped my back heel on the way off.
'I overcorrected and ended up "supermaning" off of the cliff.
'As soon as I realised I was going to dive head first into the snow bank, I tried to flip onto my back but could not quite make it, landing directly onto the back of my neck and plunging straight into the snow.
'Those first three minutes were pure terror.'
But instead of panicking, Mr Jacobson, who struggled to breathe and sat immobile, waited patiently for help to reach.
He said: 'I knew that if I began to panic then my chest cavity would expand and breathing would become more and more difficult.
'In the pin-drop silence under the snow, the only thing I could think of was to calm myself down and hope for a miracle.
'I didn't know if my friend was going to send the drop after me and miss me on his way down so, I was just hoping that he knew I was down. '
Things could have been much worse had his friend not been flagged down by a couple of skiers who also happened to be on their way down the slope.
They saw the tip of Mr Jacobson snowboard and rushed over to help, flagging his friend down in the process.
One of the skiers screamed 'Oh my God, I have never seen something like that in my life' when he finally emerged from the snow.
Mr Jacobson added: 'I tried to yell and yell but nobody could hear me. Then after few minutes, I felt someone grabbing my foot and knew that I would get out.
'I feel extremely fortunate to come out alive without any injuries.'
5. Woman found 'molded to chair' in Springfield Twp
Foster's neighbor and goddaughter told the news station she knew the woman was a hoarder but hadn't visited her in a while.
Officials responded to discover Foster's skin had molded to the chair and she was surrounded by feces and urine.
The woman is now being treated at the University of Toledo Medical Center.
Foster that well but she had a volunteer from her church that regularly delivered food.
He recognized the smell, but was "used to it". A man from Foster's church called 911 after he thought she was acting out of sorts.
Barbara had become $1400 behind her property taxes with her first missed payment coming around the same time she became stuck to the chair, county auditor records show.
A MORBIDLY obese woman became stuck in a chair for several months after her skin molded to the fabric.
Lieutenant Carter said that detectives are now reviewing the case for any potential crime.
In 2006, Ms. Foster filed a complaint against a woman she had allowed to live with her in return for assistance with chores. A report from the Lucas County Sheriff's Office says that the smell from the waste was so strong, responders could smell it from the sidewalk and that they had to wear hazmat suits just to enter the residence.
6. Tesla Will Fix Model S Damaged in Daring Autobahn Rescue for Free
According to German newspaper Muenchner Merkur, the driver of the Tesla Model S was driving on the A9 Autobahn near Garching, Germany, just north of Munich. He saw a car moving erratically and when he moved alongside it saw that the driver was hanging limply in the car, unable to control the vehicle. Reports later suggest that the driver may have suffered from a stroke.
So Manfred Kick pulled his Model S in front of the Volkswagen Passat and braked gently until the vehicles touched. He then used his Tesla to slow both cars to a stop and called emergency services. The unconscious driver of the Passat was taken to hospital, and was reported to be in stable condition.
This act of heroism may well have saved multiple lives, but it did come at a cost. Kick’s Tesla suffered around $14,000 in damages. Tesla CEO Elon Musk learned about the damages and has volunteered to have Tesla repair the car free of charge. After this, don’t be surprised to see Autopilot gain the ability to automatically take the driver to the hospital in future updates.
7. Truck full of puppies crashes, sparks 'amazing' community rescue mission
Last Tuesday, the shelter received an unsettling call: a transport vehicle carrying over 100 puppies had veered off the nearby Interstate 86 and into a ditch. New York State Troopers and a local towing company acted quickly at the scene, while the shelter helped to triage and treat the pups — who (calm your tail-wagging!) are all going to be fine.
“We’re used to dealing with animal emergencies, (but) we’re a small shelter. We normally house maybe 60 cats and 30 dogs, max," Mosgrove told TODAY. She explained that holiday adoptions left more empty kennels than usual. Fortunately, the shelter was able to accommodate most of the dogs. Eighty-six stayed at the SPCA and the remaining 18 went to nearby Bath Veterinary Hospital.
Only two of the dogs had serious injuries. Hansel, a shepherd with a broken jaw, and Gretel, a black lab with a broken leg, were hospitalized straight from the scene. Dr. Karen Doucette, a staff veterinarian for the Finger Lakes SPCA, examined all of the remaining dogs — a task she described as both “overwhelming” and “adorable.”
Most were in good shape — and, as time went on, good spirits. “For going through such a horrific crash … maybe they were initially bewildered, but they got comfortable really quick,” said Mosgrove. “They realized that the people here really cared about them … They became playful and just as sweet as can be.”
One pup in particular stole the hearts of everyone at the shelter: a Boston terrier who appears to be about eight weeks old. “I think he looks like a Charlie," said Mosgrove. “He wraps everyone around his paw in two seconds … He beams with personality.”
Giving off a decidedly different energy is Big Blue, a lovable (and very chill) cane corso. “He’s massive, and he’s got this droopy, sad dog face,” said Doucette. “But being a puppy, he’s adorable, of course.”
After being examined and treated, all but four pups who require ongoing medical care were released back to the transport company. This created conflicted feelings among members of the staff, many of whom had suspicions as to the dogs' origins.
“We’re experienced in animal welfare, and all signs pointed to the fact that these were likely from a puppy mill situation,” said Doucette. “It wasn’t a happy, joyful day to let them walk out the door.”
“As an organization, we abhor puppy mills,” added Mosgrove. “A lot of people are outraged that we had to send them on their way … (but) there are no legal remedies for us to keep these animals without an animal cruelty charge.”
The shelter later learned that the animals came from several out-of-state breeders, not just one. Still, Mosgrove wants to seize the opportunity to remind others to "adopt, don't shop," and to pressure lawmakers for more breeding regulation at state and federal levels.
“We need to cut out the demand for puppies from irresponsible breeders, which is what most pet stores are selling,” she said. Mosgrove referred those looking for more information on puppy mills to the ASPCA's website.
But for now, the lingering feeling is one of community and positivity. “From the state troopers who responded, to the local towing company who worked to bring the animals to a safe place for triage, the community really pulled together,” said Mosgrove. “The towing guys built puppy corrals out of a truck bed and some pipe board! It was an amazing effort from everyone.”
8. Woman Rescued After Car Falls Into Water-Filled Sinkhole in Studio City
Bobby Thompson told KTLA he was driving around 8 p.m. when the back tire of his van became stuck over a sinkhole on Woodbridge Street off of Laurel Canyon Boulevard.
Moments later Stephanie Scott approached the sinkhole in her car.
"I seen the other lady driving down the street and I'm trying to wave at her and tell her to stop," said Thompson. "She ain't hear me. She didn't recognize me; with the rain coming down she didn't see me. So she drove right over the sinkhole and her front tire got caught and then she fell sideways."
Authorities worked to rescue Scott from the sinkhole minutes later as Thompson's van dangled above her.
"My car kept turning and turning upside down and I just was like 'I got to stay clam'", said Scott. "I felt the water coming up and I reached for the door and I opened the door and I climbed out. It's a total miracle, thank you God."
Multiple firefighters can be seen using a ladder to pull Scott out of the hole.
Thompson's van fell completely into the sinkhole crashing into Scott's car about ten minutes after the rescue.
9. Man hanging unconscious by backpack on Arapahoe Basin chairlift is cut down by friend in harrowing rescue
The harrowing rescue was recounted to The Denver Post on Thursday by the rescuer and confirmed by the resort, which says it is reviewing the incident that occurred around 11 a.m. on the Lenawee Mountain Lift. Parts of the rescue were also captured on video and in still photos.
“It was one of the most scary things I’ve ever seen, honestly,” said Mickey Wilson, as he recounted the rescue of the dangling man. “Just seeing a person get the life sucked out of them. I kind of stopped thinking and just started acting.”
Arapahoe Basin says the man who was caught in the chair was taken by ambulance to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center and was then transferred to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood. The ski area declined to provide information on the man’s condition.
However, Wilson said he spoke to the man through FaceTime on Wednesday night and said that despite a neck brace he appeared to be OK.
The resort says the man was trying to unload from the three-person lift when his backpack became entangled in the chair. The man, still dangling from the chair, was swept around the bullwheel at the top of the lift and back down the mountain, at which point the operator shut down the ride.
Wilson, a part-time A-Basin ski instructor, says he was on a chair behind the man. About 30 seconds after he unloaded, he realized what was happening to the man who he described as a friend of a friend.
“As he tried to get off his backpack caught, and because he was on the outside of the chairlift, he went around the emergency chairlift shutoff (trigger),” Wilson, 28, said. “He was not only caught, he was literally being hung by his neck by his backpack. He was hanging 3-feet, 4-feet below the chair. His feet were maybe only about 10 feet off the snow.”
Wilson said he and a few bystanders first tried to create a human pyramid to reach the man, but the group kept tumbling down.
“That’s when I realized — it all kind of snapped together — that ‘I can climb this tower and get to him,’ ” said Wilson, a professional slackliner from Golden who competes all over the world and has won Red Bull events.
Wilson says he reached the unconscious man in about four or five minutes. Ski patrollers then arrived on scene with a ladder, but upon seeing Wilson, “perfectly tossed me the knife.”
Wilson cut down the motionless man, who fell about 10-15 feet. The drop was captured in a video, with people screaming “Cut him loose!” in the background.
Wilson said his slacklining experience made the rescue possible. “The only way I was able to get to him so fast was to climb the tower and shimmy down the line to him so fast.”
Wilson said bystanders were yelling at him not to climb the lift’s ladder, but “I didn’t listen to them.”
“There really wasn’t much that Arapahoe Basin as a ski area could have done to prevent this,” Wilson said by phone on Thursday as he was driving up for a day of powder skiing at A-Basin. “Arapahoe Basin did an amazing job of responding to this incident.”
Wilson says he ended up on the mountain with the man by chance. He was planning to ski alone on Wednesday but ran into some pals at the base, leading to them riding together in a group.
“There is a procedure in place that we are following,” Adrienne Saia Isaac, an A-Basin spokeswoman, said of how the resort is investigating the incident. “The lift is open to the public. It did not malfunction.”
She added: “We’re extending our best wishes to the guest for a quick recovery.”
A similar incident happened Monday at Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah, where The Associated Press reports a boy was caught on a lift by his backpack. The child kicked off his skis and threw his poles away as two lift operators propped a ladder up, with one climbing up to the chair and pulling the boy to safety, the AP says.
The boy, who was rescued in about seven minutes, was OK. It was the second time in the last three weeks that a kid had become stuck on a lift by a backpack at Sundance, according to the AP.
10. BABY BUNNY STRUGGLING IN STORMS RESCUED BY REPORTER JEFF EHLING
During storm coverage Monday morning, Jeff and photojournalist Mario Segura drove outbound on Highway 290 and pulled over at the HOV overpass between Jones and West Road. The rain started coming down very heavy as a strong line of showers was moving through the area.
While setting up for a live report, Jeff spotted something moving in the entrance to the HOV parking lot. It was a baby rabbit struggling in a huge puddle, unable to get over the curb.
Buses were starting to roll in and it seemed like the bunny was in a bad spot. So Jeff snagged a towel and a box from the live truck and helped the bunny to dry safety.
The rabbit is doing well, and will be released to safety as soon as the rains let up.