Out to see a Hawaiian sunrise, he drove his rental off a cliff and got rescued from the ocean

A man was rescued after he drove a rented Jeep off the South Point Cliffs in Naalehu, Hawaii, KHON2 reported.

The Big Island Fire Department told KHON 2 that they received a call for a swimmer in distress around 3:40 a.m. Sunday by a fisherman who was in the area. Due to the rural landscape of the area, it took rescue teams associated with the Big Island police, Hawaii Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard more than half an hour to get to the scene, arriving there around 4:15 a.m.

A Coast Guard Chopper and C-130 plane were also deployed to help with the rescue.

Rescue operation

While searching for the swimmer, a Coast Guard rescue chopper located the man in the water about 100 yards offshore, reported KHON2. Rescue officials then directed him to a safe spot near the bottom of the cliffs.

“He was floating on his back 80 feet from shore, we coached him in and he swam to a safe area,” Hawaii Island Fire Chief Kazuo Todd told KHON2.

From there, he was lifted out to safety by fire crews using a technical rope.

The man received immediate medical care by medics on scene and was later taken to a hospital for facial injuries, scratches and slight hypothermia, reported KHON2.

The fire department told KHON2 that the man told them that he was in the area to catch the sunrise despite it being a no-go zone because of poor road conditions and lack of cell service.

The Big Island Fire Department and the U.S.C.G. did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for more information on the incident.

A tow truck removed the Jeep from the area the next morning, according to KHON2. Video footage shows the white jeep being pulled out from between the rocks.

Watch: Hiker stranded on boulder hoisted to safety by helicopter in California

Eyewitness account

An eyewitness, Mike Moody told KHON2 that he was in the area for spearfishing. The fisherman who called 911 had alerted also Moody and his dive partner of the accident.

Moody said that the man fell into the water as he was trying to get out his rented car.

“His driver side door was locked or pinned by a rock, he couldn’t get out the driver side, so he went to the passenger side of the upside down vehicle and as soon as he opened the door he fell immediately in the water,” Moody told KHON2.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Man rescued after driving Jeep off cliff in Naalehu, Hawaii: Watch video