TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) – Nearly naked and soaking wet, a New Jersey man who took refuge in a stranger’s house after he was swept away by Superstorm Sandy left behind a note to his father in case he didn’t survive.
The man, identified only as Mike, swam for his life as waves and currents gripped him in Barnegat Bay after he walked outside when the storm destroyed part of his home in the Green Island section of Toms River.
"I was in the middle of nowhere and there were no lights and the first house I went into was flooded and I just really needed, really needed a break because the waves were going over my head," he told radio station WOBM in Toms River.
He eventually ended up at a stranger’s home, tired, thirsty and suffering from hypothermia. He wrapped himself in towels and wrote a letter to the homeowner saying he didn’t take anything. He also left a phone number to tell his father that he loved him because he was certain he was going to die.
The letter read: "Who ever reads this I’m DIEING – I’m 28 yrs old my name is Mike. I had to break in to your house. I took blankets off the couch. I have hypothermia. I didn’t take any thing. A wave thru me out of my house down the block. I don’t think I’m going to make it. The water outside is 10ft deep at least. There’s no resue. Tell my dad I love him and I tryed geting out. His … name is Tony. I hope u can read this I’m in the dark. I took a black jacket too. Goodbye. God all mighty help me."
The homeowner returned to find the note but not the man, and she posted a photo of the note on her Facebook page. The radio station tracked Mike down.
He said he was rescued by a man named Frank on a personal watercraft who drove him to a house, gave him clothes and hot chocolate.
Mike was reunited with his family in Bergen County.