SOUTH STREET SEAPORT (WABC) --A dock worker is lucky to be alive after a dramatic rescue in the waters off Lower Manhattan Monday.
He is injured but will survive after two Good Samaritans jumped in the East River to save him.
And those two rescuers spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News reporter Josh Einiger.
It all started out as a perfectly routine summer day for 18-year-old Elan Bacharach, who works as a deckhand on the Schooner Pioneer at the South Street Seaport Museum. But normal quickly turned to the unexpected.
"I heard a splash, and I saw a lot of people running over to help," he said.
As dozens of tourists watched, the rescue attempt unfolded before their eyes.
"It happened so fast," said a visitor from Norway, who witnessed the entire incident.
He watched as the tourist boat "The Shark" motored away from the pier, even though it was still tied up. He ran to warns deckhands, but it was too late.
"Just like that, there was a huge bang," witness Mylene Lim said. "A very loud bang."
"There were shouts," witness Ciaran Shalloo said. "There was people shouting, and there was hysteria."
The rope and a heavy metal cleat sailed through the air and slammed into one of the deckhands for New York Water Taxi before he had time to react.
"Then the guy was kneeling down next to the pier, and he just tumbled over," witness Jeff Magaline said.
"He was face down and not moving," Lim said. "He was like throwing up blood."
"Then suddenly, the victim went below the surface," Bacharach said.
"We were really afraid," Lim said. "We thought that he might be dead."
"His mouth was full of water," Magaline said. "He wasn't breathing."
So the 54-year-old Magaline and Elan, who'd never met, jumped in the water.
"I just couldn't stand there and let it happen," Bacharach said.
They dove in and swam out into the river, grabbing the helpless 24-year-old victim and lifting his head above water until NYPD Harbor officers could pull him to safety.
It was an act of bravery that very clearly saved the man's life.
"As long as the guy's all right, that's all that counts," Magaline said.
"I'm going to go get an ice cream," Bacharach said. "That's what I'm old enough to do. Not old enough to drink, going to get an ice cream."
New York Water Taxi did not comment on reports that the captain of the boat tried to pull away before the moorings were untied. The Coast Guard is investigating.