Greek visitors help pull man from harbor Navy officers to be honored for saving 79-year-old

July 14, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Christos Vlachos, a 20-year-old Greek Navy cadet on his first voyage, was trying to call home on an Inner Harbor pay phone yesterday morning when a passer-by alerted him to a crisis in the water.

The Athens native barely speaks English, but he quickly realized that a man had jumped into the murky harbor water from the Bay Lady, a party ship docked behind the Greek naval vessel Aris, about 9: 40 a.m.

Petty Officer Vlachos and Warrant Officer Nick Anestis dove in and pulled the 79-year-old man, who was face down in the water, to the edge of the Light Street pavilion. Police officers James Hamilton and Americus J. Rambeau pulled the man to safety.

Police said the two officers gave CPR to the unconscious victim, who was in serious but stable condition yesterday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The man had jumped into the harbor June 16, was rescued and released from the hospital Friday, police said.

"When I saw the man, I thought he was dead," Vlachos said yesterday through an interpreter, as his fellow crew members enjoyed a day off to sight-see in Baltimore. "But now that I hear the man is alive, I am very happy."

The Aris docked in Baltimore on Saturday after an eight-day trip from Athens. It is scheduled to leave later this week for Boston and then Halifax, Nova Scotia. For many young crew members, this is their first time in the United States.

The Baltimore Police Department plans to make their stay even better. Tonight, Vlachos and Anestis will receive a life-saving certificate during a ceremony on board the ship. The normally slow bureaucratic process of issuing such honors has been speeded up to honor the short-term guests.

"We want to publicly thank them for their heroic efforts," said Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a police spokesman. "The two crew members are going to be leaving soon, and we want to make sure they will get recognized before they leave town."

Pub Date: 7/14/98

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