Aug. 4, 2011 at 9:06 AM ET
When Sean Kingston decided to slip away from his Memorial Day party at his Miami Beach home and go for a Jet Ski ride, it wasn't his first run of the day, and he certainly didn't expect it to result in a near-fatal accident. Kingston, who had a friend riding as his passenger, approached a bridge he'd encountered earlier, but this time, tragedy struck.
"I went and tried to go under it, and when I found out that the tide got high, and I couldn't make it, I tried to hit the brakes, and it was too late," the R&B star told TODAY's Natalie Morales. "As soon as I hit the bridge I got knocked out. My face was in the water, and that's what crushed my lungs because I was getting in so much water."
An off-duty Coast Guard rescuer, Jonathan Rivera, happened to be nearby and helped Kingston get his head above water. Ultimately, Kingston was hospitalized and admitted to the ICU. He spent 11 days there and was off the ventilator when he felt a stabbing pain in his chest.
"He tried to die on couple times on us, but we just refused to let him die," trauma surgeon Antonio Marttos said.
Kingston recalls,"the doctors came running and they did some other tests and they found that it was a like blood, a blood fusion around the heart and a torn aorta."
Ninety percent of people who suffer an injury to the aorta like Kingston don't make it. Why did Kingston pull through? "The surgeon told me ... you had a guardian angel that day," Kingston told Morales.
And for Kingston, being alive feels great. "It's a blessing. It's definitely, you know ... God is great. I feel like I'm blessed, overcome a tragic situation. Definitely trauma and for me to still be here ... it's only God's work ... I think my work is not done. I think it was just like, you know, it wasn't my time yet."
Kingston is at work on his third album, and will return to the recording studio next week. He says his first post-accident concert will take place on TODAY.