An off-duty police officer is being hailed as a hero for rescuing two of his friends while fishing in Ocean County earlier this week.

The New Jersey Transit Police Department says this past Tuesday, September 13th, Ofc. Sjosward was fishing from shore at Island State Park Beach in Seaside Heights. He and two friends were at a location which was not staffed by lifeguards.⁣

After getting something out of his car, he returned and both of his friends were unaccounted for -- they had both been swept away from shore.

While scanning the area, Sjosward noticed one of his friends in the water, struggling to stay afloat.

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The friend was being pulled by an apparent rip current. To rescue his friend, Sjosward grabbed a body board from his vehicle and entered the water. He swam to his friend’s location and attempted to drag his friend to shore via the bodyboard. This was unsuccessful as the board’s line snapped. The board was ultimately swept away. Sjosward subsequently utilized his Water Survival and Intervention training to bring his friend to shore via a rescue technique.

With one person on land, Sjosward then saw his other friend being pulled away.

Despite extreme exhaustion, and with disregard for his own life and safety, Sjosward again entered the water. He made his way to his friend, fought through the current and brought him to shore.⁣

Sjosward was able to ask a passing motorist to call 9-1-1 and both were taken to an area medical center for treatment.

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