Isaac Sepúlveda was in a patrol car when he saw a small boat with eight people in it approaching the shore.
He called for back-up but before it arrived he saw the small boat engulfed by waves and capsize tipping its passengers into the rough seas.
In that moment, Sepúlveda made a snap decision; he took off his belt, boots and sweater and dived into the sea to help.
CCTV footage captured the entire rescue.
Aunque algunos sigan sin querer verlo, muchos guardias civiles se juegan la vida cada día para evitar que el drama de las personas que llegan a nuestras costas no acabe en tragedia
— Guardia Civil (@guardiacivil) April 12, 2018
“Everything happened really fast, I’d called for backup, but when I reached the headland, the boat was already close to shore,” he said in an interview with Ceuta’s El Faro.
“It wasn’t going well because of the rough seas and then I saw the boat overturn and everyone tipped into the sea,” explained the lieutenant.
“The waves swept several of the people to the shore but I saw that two women were left behind and were struggling. I had to make a quick decision, so I threw myself into the sea.
“I saw that I had the opportunity to save a life and I thought, in my job I just can’t watch as someone dies. It would have stayed with me my whole life.”
Five of the group made it to the shore themselves and the remaining three were helped by Sepúlveda and his colleagues, once they arrived.
New figures show that growing numbers of migrants are crossing the Mediterranean in a bid to reach Spain.
Since the start of 2018, authorities have recorded 3,345 migrant arrivals by sea, a 38 percent rise on the same three month period in 2017.
And the route is claiming more lives than ever before. A report by the UN’s International Organization for Migration revealed that 120 men, women and children died along the Western Mediterranean route in the first quarter of the year, a 150 percent rise on 2017.