Going at a zoo and getting to be around animals all day long may seem like a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean it is without challenges. Just ask the man in the video below. Rick Swope was excepting to be just another ordinary day at the Detroit Zoo, but the unthinkable happened. The man was standing close to the enclosure where the chimpanzees are kept when he saw and heard other zoo visitors screaming.

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When he looked inside the enclosure, he saw that one of the chimps had slipped into the moat surrounding that area of the zoo. Most likely, the chimpanzees had chased each other and one of them fall into the water. The poor animal was in serious danger of drowning and his fate seemed sealed. But Rick knew it was only a matter of time until the chimp lost all of his strength. So he decided to do something to help the struggling animal.

“It was the most pitiful thing I ever saw,” the hero said “This chimp had his hands up and his head was sticking out of the water. He was looking at the crowd. It was like he wanted someone to rescue him.” In an act of incredible bravery, the man scaled the enclosure wall and dove right into the water to save the chimpanzee that was desperately looking at the crowd for help.

YouTube/Screenshot

“People were showing me which direction he was in,” said Rick. “The water was so dirty you couldn’t see through it. I swam around on the bottom. Finally I found him. He was looking pretty bad, but you could see he was still alive. He was looking at me. I think he knew what was going on.”

The whole rescue was caught on video, and it will most likely make your palms sweat. You can watch the dramatic moment below!