Police say the man decided to cut through a wooded area in Ocean Breeze Park while he was on his way to Staten Island University Hospital for medical treatment.
Along the way he became stuck in the mud. The man called 911 saying he could not stand up and was sinking.
The NYPD's air and sea rescue team began a frantic search, but for almost an hour, the team came up empty.
"We thought at first it may have been a hoax. Could've been just a prank call," said NYPD Sgt. Mark Direnzo.
"It's very difficult unless there's some type of movement from the victim or someone else there to give us an exact location," said the NYPD's John Martin.
The victim kept calling 911, so they tried something different.
"Sync up the phone call to the noise of our rotor blade to where the individual was on the ground and he was able to say, Oh we're overhead. He sees a flashing light," said Direnzo.
"It was like Christmas morning. There he is! Oh my God, there he is!," said Detective Sean Daley of the NYPD Scuba Team.
"Once we found him we realized we were running short on fuel and he's been out there a while so we decided to deploy a single diver down to grab him," said Dan Pastor of the NYPD Scuba Team.
"I saw just the slightest movement. He was kinda waving to us in this little motion like this and it somehow caught my eye," said Daley.
Earlier today members of @NYPDSpecialops Aviation unit were called when an elderly man got lost & stuck in swamp. Aviation jumped into action, not only locating him, but hoisting him to safety and getting him the medical attention he needed! pic.twitter.com/GwG92suGb6— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) May 2, 2019
As they pulled the victim from the marsh he fell, and couldn't get up.
"Heavily marshy," said NYPD Pilot Robert Glennon. "A lot of grass. Brown grass coming up. He was sitting in a pond of water. I couldn't tell how deep it was. He was surrounded by water all the way around and his outfit made him blend very well."
Once he was pulled out police say the man refused a stretcher and walked the rest of the way to his appointment.
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