A US Marine veteran swooped into the Atlantic Ocean to rescue a swimmer trapped in a high tide off the Jersey shore, where dangerous conditions killed two people over Labor Day weekend.
Stephen Houser, 35, was filming himself surfing Long Beach Island with his family when he spotted a swimmer named Gabe McCabe struggling in the Atlantic.
The daring footage shows people swimming away from the tide as Houser paddled towards McCabe, who tried to yell for help while another swimmer tried to keep him afloat.
“Thanks,” McCabe tells the veteran after catching his breath. “It friggin’ whipped me around.”
“You’re fine. “You’re fine,” replies Houser as he tells McCabe to focus on getting back to shore.
The clip ends with the two men riding multiple waves back to shore, joining the other swimmers who managed to escape the tide.
“I have never experienced something like that” McCabe told ABC 7 after the terrible ordeal. “It just sucked, drained your energy.”
Houser said this wasn’t the first time he’d had to perform such a rescue and was glad he was near McCabe when the tide hit.
“I was in the right place at exactly the right time,” Houser told the outlet. “I’m just glad I helped him and I think anyone in my situation would have done the same.”
While McCabe avoided tragedy, another swimmer died Sunday in the Beach Haven community on Long Beach Island when a group of swimmers was pulled underwater.
Lifeguards created a human chain to pull out the submerged swimmers and one swimmer, Edwin Antonio Made Sanches, 22, of the Dominican Republic, was taken to a hospital where he died.
In Belmar, about an hour north of LBI, police received a call about five swimmers in distress at 6th Avenue Beach, where a 42-year-old swimmer was found lifeless. The man, whose name has not been released publicly, also died in hospital.
On Sunday night, police at Seaside Park received a call about six swimmers who were caught in rough waves, and the US Coast Guard was called to help with the rescue.
Five of the six swimmers have been found, with a 31-year-old swimmer still missing, officials said.