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They’re beautiful and breathtaking, but dangerous if you’re boneheaded enough to get too close.
Two kayakers did just that and nearly paid the ultimate price when their tiny craft fell under the thrash of waves caused by the city’s spectacular “Waterfalls” art installation.
Officials said that police scrambled to save the two kayakers Friday afternoon when a simple boating lesson turned into a fight for survival.
Officials said that pleasure cruisers, who were taking kayaking lessons along the East River, were drifting toward the Waterfalls tower stationed under the Brooklyn Bridge. Their kayak flipped over in the harsh waves, officials said.
Members of the NYPD Harbor patrol, who are routinely stationed near the four Waterfalls peppered along the waterfront, said that they saw the kayaking school near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Seconds later, they saw two of the kayakers marooned on a set of pilings, screaming for help.
NYPD Harbor Unit officer Tyreon Cook told reporters that he and his fellow officers tried to get to the two stranded men, but the currents caused by the Waterfalls were too much.
After several attempts, the officers managed to get a life ring to the victims, who held on as they pulled them a far enough distance away from the art installation for a safe rescue.
The two men were taken to an area hospital where they were listed in stable condition after treatment. The two were reportedly sent home from the hospital Friday night.
“[The Waterfalls] are wonderful for the city and a wonderful art project, but it’s also a safety concern for the NYPD that everyone remains a safe distance from them because it can be dangerous,” explained Lt. John Harkins of the Harbor Unit, who joined in the rescue, during a press conference later that day.
The four freestanding waterfalls, the brainchild of a Danish artist, is the largest public art project to hit the city since “The Gates” in Central Park back in 2005.
The installation is costing the city $15.5 million, but is expected to raise much more in tourist revenue.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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