Dire circumstances on New Year’s Eve did not stop a woman trapped inside her sinking car from taking steps in an effort to save her life.
At about 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, the woman called 911 to report that her SUV was sinking into an icy retention pond in Indianapolis.
“It’s coming in,” she told the emergency dispatcher, according to WTVA. “It’s filling up. It’s cold.”
The dispatcher told the woman that emergency responders were en route, as other witnesses had also called 911 after seeing the vehicle break through the ice.
Though the dispatcher tried to guide the trapped woman to safety, the call was soon disconnected.
“Dispatch had been on the phone with the person in the car and the call dropped as soon as she started to go under the water,” Indianapolis Fire Department Battalion Chief Rita Reith told WXIN.
The fire department’s dive team soon arrived, though at that point, the vehicle was about 90 percent underwater, according to the Indy Star.
First responders could hear the woman banging on the window, and the car itself was about 20 feet away from land and 12 feet deep into the water.
Diver Ben Roberts was able to break the glass of the car’s sunroof, and with the help of his fellow divers, he pulled the woman out of the vehicle and back to shore.
All told, the woman was out of the water by 8:47 p.m.
The fire department posted photos of the rescue effort to its Facebook page, and noted that the woman, who has not been named, was in critical condition at a local hospital.
The department also posted a video of the rescue.
According to Reith, officials are having a hard time ascertaining why the woman drove onto the ice in the first place.
“It’s unclear as to how or why she was on the ice, but she came from a parking lot area, got onto the pond somehow and drove about 150 yards before, either she realized she was on the pond, or she was driving and the pond just broke through, we’ll never really know until we can talk to her,” Reith said.
Reith also emphasized how cold the weather was at the time the incident took place. On Sunday night, the temperature was around zero degrees Fahrenheit.
“It’s cold weather, cold water, we’re all hoping for the best, She still remains in critical condition and the divers just did a heck of a job, everybody here worked really hard to get this woman out of the water,” Reith said.
The divers initially attempted to pull the woman’s car out of the water as well, but their equipment froze.
“(The divers) did have some regulators freeze, which caused that diver to be pulled from the water, and so that’s a chain reaction because it affects the way our divers react,” IFD special operations chief Kevin Jones told WISH.
Due to several additional issues, the divers decided to come back and try again when it’s warmer outside.
“This is a little bit different for us, as far as it’s been a while since we had the extreme cold temperatures,” said Jones. “However, we train our people the best we can to prepare for this.”
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