NYPD Aviation Unit Honored for Cadet Rescue

Members of New York City's Police Aviation Unit are being hailed as heroes for their daring nighttime rescue early Sunday of two West Point cadets who were stranded for more than eight hours on a cliff ledge in freezing temperatures and high winds. The U.S. Military Academy freshmen decided to try to rappel down a vertical rock formation at West Point, located 50 miles north of New York City, when they became stranded on an 18-inch-wide ledge about 500 feet off the ground. West Point firefighters and military police responded to cellphone calls from the 20-year-old cadets, but rescuers were unable to reach the pair as night fell. An NYPD special operations team started to assemble shortly after midnight when wind gusts as high as 60 mph began to subside. The five-member crew of the NYPD Bell 412 reached the scene shortly after 2 a.m., locating the cadets using night-vision goggles. Rescuers plucked the cadets from the cliff as 30 mph winds buffeted the helicopter, which hovered about 80 feet above the men and just 20 feet from rocks and trees. "There was no room for error," NYPD pilot Steve Browning was quoted as saying. After their ordeal, the shivering cadets were safely delivered to Keller Army Hospital at West Point, where they were treated for hypothermia. The cadets returned to class Tuesday morning, the Army said.


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