Good Samaritans rescue woman from car submerged in pond, deputies say

Woman crashed vehicle into retention pond

SANFORD, Fla. - A Seminole County Sheriff's Office helicopter caught Good Samaritans helping a woman out of her vehicle after crashing into a retention pond on Wednesday afternoon.

[AUDIO: 911 call]

Deputies said the woman, identified as Cynthia Garza, crashed her car into a retention pond near Martin Luther King Boulevard and Airport Boulevard in Sanford. She was alert but unable to get out of the car.

In the 911 call, Garza told dispatchers her car had been having some mechanical issues and was pulling to the right, which apparently caused her to crash into the pond on the way to the repair shop.

"My car came into a retention pond and I'm afraid to open the door," she said. "I don't know what's going to happen to me."

"Get out of the vehicle and try to get to the shore if you can, OK?" dispatchers told Garza.

"I can't open the door," she said.

The group backed a flatbed pickup truck up to the edge of the pond, getting it as close to the sinking car as possible. One man then jumped onto the truck's bed and pulled Garza through the car's window to safety, deputies said.

"By the time I saw her she was halfway across the pond," said Brad Rupert, who was driving back in his hunting truck when he saw the vehicle. "Just one of those things, being at the right place at the right time.  I saved the girl's life.  Something bad could have happened."

Just after the group pulled Garza from the car, it began to sink and was fully submerged shortly thereafter, the video shows.

"She hadn't even made it to the ambulance and the car was gone," Rupert said. "You couldn't tell the car was in the pond."

Authorities say drivers who find themselves in similar situations should get out of their cars immediately and that even though the ponds don't look deep they can swallow your car in seconds.

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