ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – New Jersey State Troopers rescued a man trapped in waist-deep frigid water.
State Police say last Saturday troopers noticed a man next to a car on the shoulder of the New Jersey Turnpike in Elizabeth. It happened at around 4:43 a.m.
“My cousin’s stuck in the swamp,” the man told the troopers. He said the man was trying to rescue a friend whose car was stuck on the other side when he got stuck himself.
The man – identified as 29-year-old Jonathan Rivera of Jersey City – was beginning to exhibit symptoms of hypothermia, according to the NJSP.
“It wasn’t just water, it was a very thick mud, frozen mud material, which was kind of like quicksand. So he was completely paralyzed from the waist down trying to get out,” New Jersey State Police Trooper Renato Antunese said.
Troopers tried extending a branch to Rivera, and forming a human chain, but neither worked.
“Considering that he was too weak, there was nothing he could do in order to grab onto the rescue tool we were utilizing,” Trooper Reinaldo Cruz Jr. said. “All the measures that we were exhausting were meeting with negative results.”
They then threw out a lifeguard flotation device and a rope and were ultimately able to pull him to safety.
“We all used this rope and the buoy and wrapped it around him. We all tugged at the same time,” said Antunese.
“It was actually all adrenaline. It happened very quickly,” he added.
Rivera was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released.
“Thank God I’m OK,” he told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis. “Nothing happened. I was just trying to help my friend out in time of need, ended up being a victim, but I want thank the state troopers for [giving] out the helping hand and they did a great job.”