Philadelphia tow truck driver jumps in to save drowning woman in Wildwood, New Jersey

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia man is being hailed an "instant hero" for his quick work rescuing a woman who was drowning in the water at the beach in Wildwood.

Officials say the woman would not be alive if not for his selfless act.

Tyree Ward says anyone would have done it, but emergency officials say not everyone is so selfless or brave.

This all happened last night in Wildwood at the beach near Baker Avenue, just after 8 pm.

It was late and there were no lifeguards on duty.

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That's when Tyree heard screaming. A woman was crying out that her friend was drowning.

He dropped his towel and phone and jumped in.

"I thank God that He put me there," Ward says. "Everything just happened the way it did. Nobody but the Lord that that put me in that place."

He hopes this will inspire others to look beyond themselves.

"Somebody has to do something," he says. "You just jump in and you just have to follow your gut sometimes."

Tyree is an auto mechanic and tow truck driver from West Oak Lane.

He was on the beach with his family when this happened.

He was able to swim far out to the 20 year-old-woman and bring her to shore. Emergency crews met them close to the shore and jumped in to help.

"He saved her life, absolutely," says Wildwood Fire Chief Ernie Troiano III. " When time is of the essence, his timing was impeccable. He was truly in the right place the right time, and he had what it took to get the job done. He didn't hesitate. He didn't wait to call for help. He sprung into action and it was truly a lifesaving measure."

The Wildwood Fire Department presented Ward with tokens of their appreciation.

They are grateful, reminding everyone of the dangers of swimming without a lifeguard and reminding us that there won't always be a Tyree Ward to swim in and save us. They say the world needs more people like him.
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