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Lifeguard drops prosthetic leg to rescue driver of sinking SUV

Nov. 13 (UPI) -- An off-duty lifeguard in New Jersey is being hailed as a hero after he shed his prosthetic leg to jump into Newark Bay and rescue the driver of an SUV that plunged into the water.

Anthony Capuano said he had just finished a workout at Stephen R. Gregg Park in Bayonne when he saw a crowd of people running to the shore.

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Capuano arrived at the shore of Newark Bay and saw an SUV sinking in the water about 50 feet from shore. The driver appeared to be trapped inside the vehicle and was yelling out the window.

"Someone had said out loud, 'Does anybody know how to swim?'" Capuano told The Jersey Journal. "And I was just like, 'Oh. I guess that's me.' And then I jumped in."

Capuano, who lost his leg when he was struck by a train 11 years ago, shed his prosthetic leg and swam out to the vehicle.

The lifeguard and swim coach at Bayonne's British Swim School said he arrived at the vehicle just in time.

"It was that moment when a car goes into a body of water where all the air releases and then the car sinks. That's basically when I pulled him out," Capuano said.

Capuano helped the 68-year-old driver back to shore. Police said the man was not injured and an investigation determined the man had been pulling over to answer a phone call when he accidentally pressed on the accelerator and the brake at the same time.

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis praised Capuano for her heroism.

"Anthony's instincts and professionalism just took over, he jumped in, didn't think about his own safety," Davis told WPVI-TV.

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