JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A dramatic rescue -- captured on camera.
A group of Jacksonville flag football players pulled a man to safety after driving his car into an Arlington park pond.
“We all jumped in the water and went in there after him,” player Abereon Brown said.
The video has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media and the players are being praised for their quick thinking to help pull the man out alive.
It all started as one of their weekly match-ups at Blue Cypress Park Saturday. The game quickly turned into a rescue.
“It was about 2 p.m. It was a regular day,” said Sean Battles, a referee. “I was reffing the game and one of the guys pointed over here saying there was a car in here.”
That’s when they all jumped into action to help the stranger.
A white car, with the driver still inside, was quickly taking on water in the middle of a nearby pond.
Cell phone video captured the moments after several players jumped in and pushed the car closer to land.
Justin Johnson and Brown rushed with their teammates and opponents to help.
Brown said he was thinking, “Save him. Honestly, just save him.”
They couldn’t pry the windows or doors open. That’s when a man climbed through an opening in the trunk to help pull the driver out.
“He didn’t wanna come out. He had a hold of that steering wheel so we were just sitting there fighting. I know he didn’t wanna let go he was telling us to let him go, but we just couldn’t let the at happen,” Johnson said.
“We’ve got you. It’s okay, it’s okay,” they told the driver.
Eventually, they pulled the man to safety until first responders arrived at the scene.
The players have a message for the man in the car.
“That we love you. Come out here and play with us. We’re a family. We don’t judge nobody,” Johnson said.
All of the men News4JAX spoke to wanted to let the man and his family know they are keeping him in their thoughts and prayers.
A family member of the man said the man is expected to physically recover.