NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A senior citizen is in the hospital after a bizarre accident in Staten Island’s swamp.
Police say an 84-year-old Alfred Cutting was taking a short cut through a marsh when his feet got stuck in the mud and he couldn’t get out.
Chopper 2 captured the dramatic rescue as Cutting was lifted into an NYPD helicopter by first responders.
It was just before 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon when dispatchers got a 911 call from the 84-year-old saying he was stuck in the mud near Staten Island University Hospital.
“Male caller states he’s in the swamp next to the parking garage… he is sinking be advised this also came as a call for help,” a 911 dispatcher said.
“He’s sinking… the water is up to his neck.”
WEB EXTRA – Watch How The NYPD’s Elite Air Sea Rescue Unit Pulled Off Their Daring Rescue In The Staten Island Swamp:
After missing his bus, Cutting tried to take an old shortcut he knew to get to his doctors office on the other side. He walked for about a half hour and found what used to be dry sand 30 years ago is now 100 acres of wetland.
“I was drowning. The water was going in my ears that’s how bad it was,” the senior said, speaking exclusively with CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
“I realized how dangerous it was because I was sinking while I was walking… I fell backwards so i’m looking up at the sky so that’s when I called 911.”
Authorities combed the area on foot near Seaview and Mason Avenue, searching for nearly an hour before they spotted the man and pulled him into the chopper.
“I don’t know how, but a little hand from him out of the corner of my eye and it was like Christmas morning. There he is, there he is, we got him,'” an officer with the NYPD”s Air Sea Rescue unit said.
“Really happy to get him out of there the thought of him being alone out there, so really happy to do something today.”
The chopper flew a short distance to Staten Island University Hospital, where the man was seen being walked out of the chopper and put on a stretcher.
Cutting was then taken for evaluation in the hospital’s emergency room. Luckily, Cutting got out unharmed and a little wiser.
“I’ll never go through there again. No, next time I’ll just wait for the next bus,” Cutting said.
Cutting said he’s always been a little weary of cell phones, but his daughter always tells him to keep his 12-year-old flip phone on him whenever he goes out. He sure is happy he listened to her Thursday.