A man who was reportedly attempting to take photographs of his Land Rover by the sea got into trouble when the car started to sink into the sand.
Police and a tow company were called to Island Beach State Park in New Jersey on Tuesday.
The male driver, said to be aged around 20, had earlier tried to dig the vehicle out with a shovel, with little success.
Video filmed by passer-by Christopher Gillich shows waves hitting the vehicle before it was pulled to safety.
Mr Gillich said a passenger “had asked to go down by the water to take a photo so the kids drove down there and stopped”.
It was then he said the car started to be sucked into the ground until eventually it “couldn’t sink anymore” because the “frame was buried in the sand”.
Officials said the driver was not issued with a summons as he had a mobile sportfishing permit, which allows him to operate a four-wheel drive vehicle on fishing beaches.
Witnesses said the driver insisted on driving the vehicle away despite the engine making strange sounds.