Zachary Sjosward

Three men fishing on Sept. 13, 2022, in the Atlantic Ocean at a beach in Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park, New Jersey, encountered trouble when a rip current pulled two of them into deeper water. The men drifted apart and struggled to keep their heads above water. The third man, off-duty police officer Zachary Sjosward, 25, of Clifton, New Jersey, saw his friends struggling, and after collecting a bodyboard from a truck, entered the water with the board’s strap secured to his wrist. As he swam toward the closer man, who was about 85 feet from the beach in water at least 6 feet deep, a wave crashed over him and broke the bodyboard’s cord, ripping the board from him. Continuing without it, Sjosward reached the man and guided him into wadable water, where he went to the beach on his own. Sjosward swam to the second man, who by then, was motionless. Sjosward brought him to wadable water and then dragged him onto the beach. Arriving first responders took both men to a hospital, where they recovered.