SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. — First responders are being hailed as heroes after saving a man in crisis, pulling him out of freezing cold waters.
It was around 5 p.m. on April 14 when first responders were called to rescue a suicidal man who swam out into the freezing waters of Toms River. The Seaside Heights Police Department’s Marine Unit was among those who responded — knowing they only had moments to get to him.
“He could have got struck by a boat — then you’re never gonna find him — or, hypothermia, because when we did get him out of the water, he was in full shock,” said Seaside Heights Police Chief Tom Boyd.
Two Seaside Heights officers on board rode out to the man, who was fully clothed, barely swimming and already losing consciousness.
“We had two things going against him: you had the water that’s freezing -around 40 degrees, 42 degrees- and you have all that clothing on, which when it gets absorbed– plus, especially, the shoes. When they fill up with water, it’s like you got boots on,” said Boyd.
The two officers managed to pull the man out of the water. Within seconds, they put a jacket around him. He was taken to the hospital minutes later where he was able to get the help he needs.
“My two police officers did a phenomenal job,” said Boyd. “He’s just lucky, you know? We got there quickly, it’s all about the timing. Timing is everything.”
The Department acquired the new rescue boat last year, outfitted with all the latest technology and lifesaving equipment.
“You know there’s a lot of things that you need – you don’t know what you’re going to need every time you have an emergency,” said Boyd.
“Police officers are there to help,” he said. “We’re there to help and save lives. That’s our first thing, then we go into law enforcement, then we go into the other things, but the first thing is save life and property.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). It is a free, 24/7 service that offers support, information, and local resources. You can also click here for additional hotlines within your state.