Firefighters managed to rescue a 20-year-old surfer who trapped in a jetty in the water of the Rockaways, but the Daily News says the victim is "clinging to life." According to witnesses, the victim's "ankle tether - a line that ties the board to the surfer - appeared to be snagged on a wooden post," near Beach 92nd St. yesterday afternoon.

An off-duty firefighter was the first of a group of surfers who tried to free him while two other wetsuit-wearing firefighters assisted. The surfer's friend said, "That dude is a hero. I don't even know who he is ... but he's a hero."

While the victim's friends were worried about his prospects, one said from the hospital, "His eyelids are moving. He's responding to voices. He's doing better than when he came in." A veteran surfer said of the dangerous waters, "It can be dangerous - those things sneak up on you. Unless you have the strength to reach down and pull the leash off, you're pulled under the water."