A shirtless man swims out to a van sinking on the beach before posing for a photo and rescuing four packets of cigarettes in bizarre scenes.
A British summer afternoon took an unexpected turn when the white van became stuck in the sand and was swallowed up by the sea in Redcar.
A tractor tried to tow the van out but the rope kept snapping in the drama that played out on the North Yorkshire beach.
A topless man then decided to swim out to the van “for a picture on the roof”, before returning with four rescued packets of cigarettes in the dramatic and odd scenes on Sunday afternoon.
Witness Keighly Finnegan told Teesside live : “The van came on the beach and it had the trailer and speedboat on the back and he kind of did a big U-turn down the other end and went back.
“And then as soon as the engine cut off all of a sudden you could see there was something going on because he was just gesturing and troubled faces and all that kind of stuff.
“He ran back here and then a woman went off the beach and then they came back and there was a lot to do. “
She said people tried pushing it but the water had come in.
She added: “There was about four people trying to push it but it just wouldn’t move anywhere.”
Jamie Lawrence, 36, from Stockton, was at the beach with his wife Rachel, and twin daughters Isobel and Sophia – both aged 5.
The Teesside Audi motor trade worker said: “We walked from the shops and saw all the crowds and thought it was just a busy day – but then we saw this van stuck in the sea!
“The kids said: ‘Daddy, what’s that?’ It’s a bit of a spectacle.”
He said the van is now about 100ft from the shore and the water is up to the windows and going into the cab. It’s half submerged.
He added: “It’s unusual for a Sunday!”
A tractor had been called in in a bid to tow the stricken vehicle out, but the attempt ultimately failed.
It is understood the vehicle will be recovered when the tide goes back out.
The man believed to be the owner of the van declined to comment when approached by reporters.