NYPD officers praised for daring cliffside cadet rescue.

Five officers who helped rescue two West Point cadets from…

Five officers who helped rescue two West Point cadets from a 500-foot cliff in upstate New York over the weekend were honored by New York City Commissioner Ray Kelly on Tuesday, who called the mission a “daring rescue.”

A police helicopter navigated around rocky outcrops of Storm King Mountain on Sunday as turbulent winds battered the aircraft in pitch darkness after they got the call around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday in order to pluck the two cadets — freshman at the U.S. Military Academy who had gone repelling — from an 18-inch ledge.

“At no time did we feel unsafe,” said helicopter pilot Steve Browning, who added that flying conditions were the most difficult he’s seen since joining the NYPD in 1997. “Was it dangerous? Absolutely dangerous. But with the training that we’ve had and the training that I’ve given the individuals that I was flying with, we had no problem with our mindset that we had the skills to do this mission.”

Browning had 14 years of military flying experience and was a member of Special Operations forces before becoming a police officer.

Commissioner Kelly congratulated Browning and Detectives Michael Sileo, Fernando Almeida, Christopher Condon and William Stevens on Tuesday.

“It was like threading a 10,000-pound needle through a gale,” Kelly said. “It was tricky. It was difficult.”

Source: Ailsa Chang for WNYC.

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