NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley Crew team members Michael DeHaas and Phil Amiths joined Coach Judy McIntyre to rescue a man who fell into the Passaic River on Wednesday April 25. The three were in a launch when the events of the evening unfolded.
Nutley Crew was on the Passaic River Wednesday afternoon in preparation for States on Saturday. They were in the Newark-Harrison area, headed upstream to the boathouse which is located near the Route 7 bridge. The person fell from the Bridge Street bridge in Harrison. That bridge is about two miles downstream from the team's boathouse.
Amiths said there was a "splash, and more splashing," at first DeHass was not sure what it was. Coach McIntyre had the crew boats stay in position as the launch made its way to the area of splashing. DeHaas and Amiths were in the launch at time of the incident. A floatation device was passed to the victim who then held the side of the launch as they brought him shore.
Police were already on the scene as calls had been placed about a man who had appeared to be planning to jump into the river. According to McIntyre, the current was slow and the tide was coming in slowly. Coach Kevin Smyth explained that if the current were running faster, as it had earlier in the week following the rain, the situation may have ended very differently.
At no time were any of the crew members in the water. Rescue training is done on shore and with video instructions from US Crew. Coach Smith said "we would never put them int he water intentionally." "Safety of our athletes is foremost" said Smyth. "Coach (McIntyre) the team was safe and responded under direction of the police." McIntyre said the entire team responded appropriately and with composure.
At the time of the incident, there were two boats of four, and one boat of eight. There was also a coxswain in each boat.
Nutley Crew is going into States at their highest seating with six boats with good placement. Nutley Crew consists of 72 members, both boys and girls, in all grades. The entire team joins them as even those who may not be actively competing are there to cheer on their teammates. That sort of teamwork provides students with the personal skill sets needed for careers in the Military or even the Emergency Room.
DeHass is a Senior at Nutley High School. He joined Crew following in the footsteps of his older brother. In September he will reporting to Boot Camp at Parris Island South Carolina as he prepares for a career with the United States Marine Corps. Coach McIntyre beamed when she interjected "they have lots of engineering opportunities."
Amiths is a Junior in Nutley High School. He still has some time to make a decision about higher eduacation but Rutgers and Temple are high on his list. When he mentioned Rutgers, Principal Denis Williams exclaimed "RU." His career goals are in the helping professions, either Physical Therapy or Nursing. This summer he plans to work at ProStaff in Nutley as an aide.