NY cops brave freezing water to rescue driver trapped in canal

Officers Anthony LaGrasta and John Rivera were treated for hypothermia after the successful rescue

By Joan Gralla

ISLIP, NY — A driver whose car landed in an Islip canal early Thursday  morning was pulled out of the water by two town peace officers who happened to be nearby, a town spokeswoman said.

“They dove in and pulled the motorist out,” after hearing the emergency reported to local police at Middle Canal at the end of Ocean Avenue about 6:30 a.m., spokeswoman Caroline Smith said.

The driver and officers Anthony LaGrasta and John Rivera were treated for hypothermia at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, Smith said. 

LaGrasta, 27, was hired in August 2017. Rivera, 30, joined in February 2016. They "are being hailed as heroes," Smith said.

"It was a selfless act to jump into that cold water," Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said in a statement. "There is no question the victim would have died, had it not been for our trained, quick-thinking park rangers, officers who happened to be patrolling in the community, heard the call come over the radio, and in the right place at the right time. We are incredibly proud of them, and grateful they were not hurt."

Temperatures were in the 30s with wind chills in the 20s in the area on Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Suffolk County’s police harbor patrol is expected to extract the car and confirm that no one else was inside, Smith said.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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