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Sous Chef Dives Into Harbor, Breaks Window of Sinking Car and Saves Driver

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Wednesday was just a normal day at work for a sous chef in Baltimore — until he had the opportunity to prove his mettle and is now being hailed a hero.

It was around 4:00 p.m. in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor when a white car ran off the road and into the harbor near Phillips Seafood. One employee, Jordan Payne, was on her way to clock in when she spotted a crowd gathered and went over to see the sinking vehicle.

She ran into the restaurant to alert the others, and a sous chef identified only as “Tom” ran out and did what no one else was willing to do.

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The car’s windows were at least partially open, and bystanders were yelling at the driver to escape — but he seemed to be impervious to their cries.

“Get out the window, get out!” one bystander yelled, according to The Baltimore Banner.

“He’s not trying to get out, not making an effort or anything,” Payne recalled.

Tom jumped into the water and began punching the window.

“He’s like banging on the window, trying to break it,” Payne said.

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The car continued to sink into the harbor as Tom worked desperately to get the man to safety. Once he was able to break a window and get the driver out, he struggled to get him to the side of the harbor where people were waiting and ready to help them up.


Payne said the driver was conscious and appeared unharmed, but it was clear that Tom’s hand had been injured.

“His hand is like all the way cut up,” she said. “His whole knuckles are busted.”

The Baltimore City Fire Department posted about the incident later in the day.

“Shortly after 4pm #BCFD responded to a rescue call at the Inner Harbor for reports of a vehicle in the water,” they posted. “Upon our arrival all occupants were out of the vehicle with the help of a bystander. Two people were treated and transported with minor injuries.”



The Phillips Seafood’s manager confirmed to WJZ that the sous chef was hospitalized following the rescue, according to CBS News.

“Chef is currently in the hospital due to the injuries he sustained when breaking open the window,” the manager said.

Police later revealed that the driver had been “experiencing a mental health crisis” at the time of the accident.

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