With only minutes to spare, a brave Marine rescued a woman who can’t swim from her van rapidly filling with flood water.
Lance Corporal Jason Martin, a police officer at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, had walked outside Gate 4 early Wednesday morning to check the area when he spotted a van trapped by rising water.
Heavy rains and flooding had trapped the vehicle as it drove through an underpass outside the gate.
“The van was submerged, pretty much submerged underwater,” Martin said in an exclusive interview with NBC 7.
Wading through the water, Martin approached the van and looked inside. His flashlight revealed a woman standing on the backseat with water up to her neck.
She was “choking on water and panicking,” Martin described.
One thing went through his mind.
“She needed help and I needed to get to her before things get worse,” he said.
Martin saw the storm water continuing to rush into the van, already chest high for the 6-foot-2 Marine.
He calmed the woman so that she could unlock the door, but the water pushing up against the van was heavy, Martin had to brace himself to get in.
“Anchoring my foot behind the wheel I just pulled on the door,” he said. “It took me a couple tries but eventually I was able to muscle it and pull it open.”
That’s when the woman told him she couldn't swim. He instructed her to climb onto his back, so she held onto him as he waded back to dry ground.
Minutes later, the van was completely underwater.
While recounting his experience, Martin was still humble about his heroic act, which put him in the right place at the right time.
“I wouldn't consider myself a hero just me doing my job,” said the Marine.