Dad Who Saved Daughter in East River a Former Rescue Worker

By Erica Butler
|  Monday, Apr 5, 2010  |  Updated 4:17 PM EDT
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It was a scary moment for a family spending the day at <a title=South Street Seaport. A two year old toddler fell off the boarding ramp of one of the tall ships and her dad and a tourist sprang into action." />

It was a scary moment for a family spending the day at South Street Seaport. A two year old toddler fell off the boarding ramp of one of the tall ships and her dad and a tourist sprang into action.

Onlookers were shocked when they saw California dad David Anderson plunge into the East River to save his daughter after she fell 20 feet from a boat at South Street Seaport

But it seems as though Anderson wasn't new to the role of rescuer. 

The Daily News tracked down Steve Clark, a former co-worker from Vail resort in Colorado years ago, who was not surprised after hearing the story.  Anderson had been a ski patrol rescue worker  there for years before moving to California.

"He did so many great things here, always helping people," Clark told Daily News. "He has always been a hero."

Anderson rescued two-year-old Bridgette after she slipped of the gangplank of the Peking ship, plunging about 20 feet into the murky waterway.

Seconds later, Anderson jumped in after her, emptying his pockets and taking off his shoes while running down the pier. With the help of an unidentified French tourist, the little girl was pulled to safety. 

People organized a chain to get everyone out of the water safely.  Witnesses were surprised by Anderson's readiness and precision. 

"The father was so fast," Long Island photographer Eric Stringer, who got exclusive first photos of the rescue, told Gothamist

Clark maintains that Anderson's reaction was not out of character.

"I am shocked but not surprised," Clark told Daily News. "Dave would not do anything else."

The heroic dad has so far declined to comment about the incident.

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