Lieutenant credits bystander in saving child’s life after car crashes into pond

Cause of the incident is under investigation

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Fire Lieutenant Rob Henzmann was one of the first responders to rescue a family after their vehicle crashed into a retention pond, Thursday afternoon.

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“The vehicle was on its roof the front end of the vehicle was submerged,” Lt. Henzmann said.

Crews with the Orlando Fire Department and Orlando Police were called to the area of Lee Vista Boulevard for reports of a water rescue.

When they arrived they found the driver pinned inside the car and a good samaritan in the back seat trying to free a child strapped in a car seat.

“We found a man in the backseat who was holding a child’s head up in a car seat strapped up, had he not done that the child’s head would’ve been underwater and he probably would have drowned,” he said.

While only part of the undercarriage of the car was visible, Lt. Henzmann said the driver could still breathe but was trapped.

“The doors were wedged in the mud so there was no way to open the doors from the inside or manually,” he said.

After firefighters felt their way around and cut the straps of the car seat and freed the child they worked to free the driver, but couldn’t pry the door open.

“We used hydraulic tools to remove the rear passenger door and the passenger door and we were able to free the driver at that point,” Lt. Henzmann said.

He said the incident may have had even worse consequences if not for the good samaritan who was the first to arrive at the scene and jumped into the water.

“That bystander that had shown up called 911 and did an amazing job of jumping in the water and saving this child’s life,” he said.

The cause of the incident is under investigation and police said the occupants of the vehicle are expected to be okay.


About the Author:

Nicky Zizaza is an Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 6 nightside team in December 2018. She is originally from Rwanda and she started her journalism career in the nation's capital.