Lester Schuster had been watching the chaos unfolding at the end of runway 1L West when the idea occurred to him. Here was an opportunity, he thought, to be in his own film.
He checked the camera’s view finder for just the right spot for him to stand and then carefully secured the camera. That done, he slipped easily from his hiding place behind the ‘Welcome To New York’ sign.
He was still dressed as a member of the maintenance crew and was sure he wouldn’t have a problem mingling in among the other mechanics and baggage handlers rushing to the crash site. Almost halfway down the runway, he turned and flashed a wide grin in the direction of the hidden camera lens. He was reveling in being out in the open. Nestled by the anonymity of the crowd around him, he felt completely safe.
It was Lester, who first spotted Captain Wilson floating among the large chucks of ice in the bay.
While everyone else was straining their eyes trying to spot the plane, Lester was watching for the bodies, hoping lots of them would pop to the surface, when he heard a low muffled cry for help.
Lester surprised himself by yelling, “over there.” “There’s someone in the water.” He ran towards Captain Wilson and the end of the runway. With two other mechanics holding his feet, Lester Schuster extended his body out over the edge of the runway where it met the water and pulled the desperate man from the icy waters.
Someone found a blanket and wrapped it around Captain Wilson. They were trying to get him into one of the waiting ambulances but he refused. Captain Wilson insisted on staying there by the water’s edge. He had every intention of being there when the other survivors were brought to the surface, especially his wife and children.
Lester Schuster put his arms around the Captain in a show of compassion but made sure that he’d position the both of them so that the hidden camera caught their images. This was definitely the crowning jewel of his collection.
He was still standing near Captain Wilson when he heard the police sirens. “Time to go,” he said to himself. Too late. The city police, perhaps some of Rebecca’s coworkers were among them, were already cordoning off the area. He had to get as far away from Captain Wilson as possible.