I don't know whether or not Jesus actually appeared to him in those moments - although it's possible, even if it isn't the way God normally deals with us. God is all-powerful, and we need to remember that He "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).
But the real issue for your friend is this: God has spared his life - but why? Is it simply so he can go on living the way he always has - ignoring God, and living only for himself? No, not at all. Your friend was not ready to die and enter eternity - but God has now given him a second chance, and I pray he won't squander it or ignore it.
Pray for your friend, and urge him to turn to Christ and commit his life to Him. God loves him, and Christ died for him so he could be forgiven of his sins and enter heaven someday. Our greatest need is to be forgiven and cleansed of our sins - and this is possible because of what Christ has done for us through His death and resurrection. Is your faith and hope in Him?
The Bible says, "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). But we must never take His patience for granted, or assume we can delay giving our lives to Christ indefinitely. The Bible says, "Now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).