No matter what your believes might be, if you’ve ever had the opportunity to see a chimpanzee up close, then you know that you can’t help but feel a strange connection to these amazing animals. The look in their eyes, the way they interact with other people through the partition glass, the way they move. It all just looks so familiar. But despite this closeness most of us feel when we are around chimpanzees; few people would actually put their own lives on the line to save a chimpanzee in danger.

YouTube Screenshot

Well, the man you are about to see in the video below did just that while he was visiting the zoo with his wife and children. In this raw footage, you can see the man rescuing a chimpanzee from drowning by pulling him out from the water. The ape had fallen into the water after a more aggressive chimp pushed him from the top of a rock. Ignoring the threat of the other apes and the warning he received from the zoo’s staff, the man jumped into the ape enclosure to save him.

The dramatic scene unfolded at the Detroit Zoo, but fortunately this hero named Rick Swope was at the right place at the right time. Fortunately, it all ended up well for both the ape and the brave man that came to his rescue!

YouTube Screenshot

“It was the most pitiful thing I ever saw,” Rick 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….He was pretty lifeless, but you could see he was still alive. He was looking at me. I think he knew what was going on.”