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11-11-17 Hiker Rescue

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On Saturday, November 11th 2017 at approximately 1738hrs the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department received a call from a person saying that they were part of a 4 person hiking group that was lost in the woods and trapped on the side of the cliff.  They were unsure of their location and could not move on their own.  Officers Martin Clancy #390, Anthony Burgos #398, Rocco Guerriero #400, and Kevin Condus #403 responded to the area of their last known location.  Between phone interview questions and phone tracking Officer Clancy was able to determine that the hikers were located near the Lamont Doherty Observatory on the NY/NJ border.  Two members responded through Piermont as the other members responded to deploy marine assets.  Officer Guerriero made verbal contact with hikers by accessing the cliff through Lawrence Ln.  Officer Clancy arrived to assist however both were unable to reach the hikers due to a steep cliff terrain.

Officers Burgos and Condus responded in Marine 2, Officer Clancy then later responded in Marine 4.  It was determined that the safest route of access was from the south.  Closter EMS and Rescue was dispatched and picked up by Marine 2 and transported to the scene.  Westchester County Police Marine 2, Rockland Sheriff’s Marine 1 were requested to assist.  Crews were able to later hike in and conduct a rappel operation to reach the hikers and bring them down to safety.  Low tides caused the Parkway Marine units to become lodged in the mud and members hiked through shallow water to reach the rescue crews on land.

Closter EMS, Officers Guerriero and Bellini (now on scene) hiked out with the victims to prevent them from entering the river.  The remaining personnel were transported to Alpine Boat Basin where they were evaluated by EMS for cold weather exposure.  All hikers were evaluated by EMS for cold weather exposure and refused medical aid.  Units cleared the scene at approximately 0030hrs (total rescue time was approximately six hours).

Rescued hikers are as follows:

  • Yanyee Cheng,29 year old Female from Albany NY
  • Joanne Wong, 28 year old Female from Brooklyn NY
  • Wan Chang, 32 year old Female from Brooklyn NY
  • Wem Zhong, 27 year old Male from Brooklyn NY