A New Jersey man is lucky to be alive after he became stranded in the middle of the ocean on top of his submerged pickup truck and had to swim to shore in order to save his life.
Wildwood authorities said “poor visibility and unfavorable beach conditions” were to blame for the incident on Wednesday evening that left the driver hospitalized with possible hypothermia and respiratory issues, according to a press release on the local fire department’s Facebook.
It was around 7:30 p.m. when the Wildwood Fire Department was called to the area of Spencer Ave. and the Beach for a water rescue assignment, officials said.
While firefighters were on their way to the scene, the Wildwood Police Department informed them that a pickup truck “was almost completely submerged” in the ocean with the driver, who was identified as an employee of Morey’s Pier, on its roof.
“Visibility was extremely limited due to a heavy fog condition which made the situation more difficult than usual,” the fire department explained on Facebook of the rescue.
By some miracle, authorities said the driver was able to escape from the vehicle and climb onto its roof as he waited for help.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have long and the pickup truck continued to quickly sink. With no other way out, the man was forced to abandon his vehicle in the middle of the ocean, jump into the rocky waters and swim to shore, according to authorities.
Once he made it in safely, officials provided medical attention before transporting him to Cape Regional Medical Center via ambulance.
Photos of the terrifying scene were shared on the fire department’s Facebook, showing the white pickup truck tucked beneath the ocean waves in the darkness.
As it turns out, the fire department revealed that the pickup driver wasn’t the only person whose vehicle got stuck on Wednesday evening.
“Due to poor visibility and unfavorable beach conditions, several vehicles became stuck in the sand on location but were quickly pulled out with the help of the City’s Public Works Department,” officials wrote on Facebook.
“All fire units cleared the scene at 8:55 pm,” they added.
In response to the post, several community members praised the fire department for their quick action and saving the man’s life.
“Excellent work, we live nearby and witnessed the expedited response,” wrote one user. “Another great job by our fire fighters!!!” added another person.
“Awesome job by our first responders and all involved,” commented someone else.
At this time, it is unclear how the driver managed to get stuck in the ocean.
A spokesperson with Wildwood Fire Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
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