Thank goodness for the eagle eyes of Staten Island Ferry captain Christopher Covella. His and his crew's actions led to the rescue of 23-year-old Hannah Upp, a public school teacher missing since August 29.
Covella, who was bringing the ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island, said he noticed what looked like a head bobbing in upper New York Harbor and he got his binoculars for a better look. He maneuvered the boat as closer to her as possible and then deckhands Ephrain Washington and MIke Sabatino, in a rescue boat, approached her. They took her out of the water, and she "took a gasp of air" and started to cry, according to Sabatino who thought she might be dead. Video of the ferry crew after the jump.
The authorities believe that Upp jumped from a pier in Staten Island and "that strong currents pulled her one mile out." Though she told authorities her name was "Hannah" and that her mother reported her missing, WNBC reports she has refused to speak to detectives.
Upp was found wearing the same clothes she was last seen in--a red tank top, a black sports bra, and black shorts. The Daily News reports that Upp may have jumped into the water because she was spotted at a S.I. Dunkin' Donuts. Additionally, Upp apparently used the shower at New York Sports Club locations during her time off the grid--the News says, "Each time, Upp told workers she had misplaced her ID and they let her in. She apparently knew cops were on her tail because she did not go to the same club twice, the sources said." (Upp had left her id, wallet and phone in her apartment.)
|Deckhands talk of rescue near Staten Island Ferry|
Captain Covella credited the ferry's rescue training with their success yesterday.
Upp's disappearance alarmed friends and family, especially since she was due to start a new school year teaching at the Thurgood Marshall middle school. However, she had been seen last week checking her email at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store. Yesterday, a hospital spokesperson said Upp's mother and a friend were visiting her at Richmond University Medical Center.