Rescued Man Says God Told Him to Swim to Liberty Island

Call it divine intervention.

Monday, Jun 6, 2011  |  Updated 7:58 AM EDT
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The man was plucked out of the water before completing his "divine-ordered swim."

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A man rescued by U.S. park police after diving into New York Harbor claimed God told him to swim to Liberty Island and that’d he’d rather die than fail his mission, reports The New York Post.

The 29-year-old man stripped down to his swim trunks before horrified onlookers and leaped into the icy waters from a Liberty State Park footpath to embark on the three-quarter of a mile swim to Liberty Island, reports the Post.

The man has not been publicly identified.

A witness spotted the man roughly 45 minutes into his “divine-ordered swim” and called police, who dispatched a rescue boat and caught up with the man about a quarter of a mile from the island.

“When we got to him he was shivering like a leaf and the tides were taking him away from Liberty Island,” United States Park Police Officer Kurt Zeil, who helped respond to the call, told the Post. “He said God told him to swim to Liberty Island. He said he would rather drown than get on the boat.”

Eventually, the beleaguered swimmer agreed to board the rescue ship. He was taken to Jersey City Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation. His condition is unknown at this time.

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