A 70-year-old man drowned off the coast of Brighton Beach on Sunday.
A passerby spotted the elderly man struggling in the water off Brighton Fourth Street and alerted an off-duty cop swimming nearby at around noon, and together the pair rushed to pull the unconscious man onto land, according to eyewitnesses.
Witnesses say that the cop, Michael Balioni, borrowed the other man’s phone to call paramedics, before the two men — with the help of Balioni’s friend — traded off performing CPR on the 70-year-old victim.
“I started crying, it was just so sad,” said Allyson Howard, who witnessed the incident.
The unconscious man, who had turned blue, regained some color after the compressions, but the good Samaritans were unable to revive him, according to a law enforcement source.
Paramedics rushed the elderly swimmer to Coney Island Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The man did not have any outward signs of injury and police do not suspect foul play, authorities claim.
Grief-stricken beachgoers expressed sorrow for the old man as paramedics sped off the beach, while praising Balioni for his heroic effort.
“If that happened to me, I’d want him to be at the beach,” Howard said of the cop.