Alfred Cutting told local media he decided to cut through a marsh behind Staten Island University Hospital to make it to an appointment. He had taken the shortcut before, but this time he fell, became stuck in the mud and couldn’t move.
"I was drowning," he told CBS New York. "The water was going in my ears, that's how bad it was."
Cutting called 911 when he realized the situation was getting worse.
The New York Police Department's Aviation Unit sent three helicopters to search for Cutting. Police searched for nearly an hour before a helicopter crew finally spotted him, NBC New York reported.
“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 told CBS New York.
An officer was lowered down to Cutting, put a vest on him and attached a rope to it. The two men were then lifted into the helicopter.
Cutting was taken to the same hospital he was trying to get to when he became stuck. He was unharmed, CBS New York reported.