FITCHBURG, Mass. (WHDH) — A father and son were inside a car when it drove off the road and ended up in a Fitchburg river. The young boy swam to safety, but his heroic actions didn't stop when he got back on dry land.

An eight-year-old boy hailed as a hero, after he helped rescue his father, trapped in a car in a fast-moving river.

Firefighters said the two were driving down a road in Fitchburg when the car hit a guardrail, flew into the river, and flipped on its roof early Thursday morning.

The car landed on trees with the two inside, and the man's feet trapped underneath the dashboard. His son, Joshua, then climbed out the backseat and swam across the churning Nashua River.

“It was moving pretty good, the current was going pretty good with all the rain that we've been having the last couple of days,” said Eddie Suarez, Fitchburg Fire Department.

Joshua then walked about a mile down the street around 3:30 a.m. to tell his stepmom that dad was still inside the car.

“He came soaked up wet. He says he's from the river, I don't understand how he's from the river,” said Rigoberto Guardado, Joshua's stepgrandfather.

Confused at first, Joshua's stepgrandfather then went to the bridge as they called 911.

“That’s why we were surprised. My god, how did he walk all the way down here? I say, somebody brought you here? He said, no, no,” said Guardado.

Firefighters then rescued Joshua's dad, and said the father and son looked like they were in good condition, considering all they had been through.

“He's a good kid. I think he was like an angel. He was like an angel to his father,” Guardado said.

Relatives also said that Joshua's father often works long hours, and they think that may have been played a factor in this crash. They also say the state is now investigating, and has custody of Joshua.

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