SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — Two good Samaritans dove into the East River to rescue a Pier 16 dock worker who was knocked into the water by a rope from a departing New York Water Taxi boat Monday, police said.
The 24-year-old New York Water Taxi employee keeled over into the water after a rope and metal cleat snapped off the company's high-speed "Shark" water ride, striking him in the chin while it was motoring away from South Street Seaport's Pier 16 at about 3 p.m., police said.
The two male rescuers, who officials said worked for the South Street Seaport Museum, quickly jumped into the water after the dock worker. Witnesses said the injured man lost consciousness when the metal hook attached to the rope whacked him.
"The impact [of the rope] was so strong,” said Peter Kahn, a tourist from Montreal who was riding on the boat at the time. “If it had hit [the worker] in the head ... there’s no doubt he would be dead.”
The victim's rescuers held him afloat and waited for police to arrive, officials said.
Two NYPD divers were able to quickly pull the trio from the water, police said.
"There was just blood everywhere when they pulled [the worker] out," said Mylene Lim, 23, a tourist from Ireland. "It looked like it was gushing from his mouth."
The good Samaritans declined medical attention. The dock worker was taken to Bellevue Hospital and is in stable condition, police said.
A spokeswoman for NY Water Taxi said the man, a shore-side employee, was knocked into the water as he untied the Shark vessel.
"The employee was wearing a life jacket, following proper protocol and safety precautions. We are awaiting full details of how this event occurred," spokeswoman Jennifer Jacobs said in an emailed statement.
"All passengers that were aboard were returned to shore safely, uninjured and were never in danger. We are closely monitoring the situation."
Police said it was unclear how the rope snapped from the boat, but the Coast Guard is investigating the incident.