Man rescued after leaping into the Gowanus Canal

Brooklyn Paper
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Call it a baptism by mire!

A man was hospitalized after leaping into the Gowanus Canal Saturday night — on purpose!

The 53-year-old Gowanusaur hopped the fence at Bond and Fourth streets and plunged into Brooklyn’s Nautical Purgatory at around 10 p.m. on Sept. 7, according to Detective Sophia Mason, a spokeswoman for the Police Department.

A police officer discovered the man swimming in the noxious waterway and rushed to the water’s edge to fish him out of the filthy waterway, which is home to sewage, toxic waste, and even trace amounts of the clap!

The officer snatched a hold of the man from the shore, and held on desperately while waiting the department’s Emergency Service Unit and the Fire Department to arrive and they were able to get the man out of the canal’s haunting depths, according to the spokeswoman.

Paramedics brought the contaminated swimmer to Methodist Hospital for treatment to a back wound and for psychiatric evaluation to find out why he jumped into the canal and he remains in stable condition, according to Mason.

Emergency services also brought the hero cop to the Park Slope medical center for treatment to some scrape and bruises he sustained trying to get the guy out of the water, she said.

While the man survived his dive into the fetid canal tainted by chemicals, raw sewage, sexually transmitted diseases, and animals’ corpses, one environmental activist advised against going for a casual dip there any time soon.

“The waterway has been used as a dumping grounds for more than a 100 years — that’s the legacy that he fell into,” said Christoper Swain. “It’s like swimming through a dirty a diaper that someone dumped oil, gasoline, and trash in.”

Swain has swum in the canal several times — albeit, clothed in a protective drysuit — as a stunt to encourage a more brisk cleanup of the federal Superfund site.

Coming into contact with the dirty water can easily lead to infections, according to Swain, who advised anyone who makes physical contact with the fetid waterway to seek immediate medical attention — and maybe take a bath.

“If you have exposure to your eyes, ears, mouth, or any open wounds — any of those could be a pathway to infections from pathogens in the canal,” he said. “Rinse off, go to urgent care, update your vaccinations and keep your eye out if you develop a rash or an infection.”

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Posted 12:00 am, September 11, 2019
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