‘She wasn’t moving:’ Port Orange officer recounts water rescue of woman trapped in submerged car

Port Orange police say going forward they will use this video as a training tool

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Port Orange officer who pulled the woman out of a submerging vehicle is speaking out and sharing the moments of a high-stakes rescue.

Officer Nicholas Calenda said his department doesn’t have a training simulation that can match this experience, but he is glad he was able to help save a life.

“Everything seemed to be slow, there on the scene, being in it,” Calenda said.

[TRENDING: Parents sue after getting another couple’s embryo | Are you required to use your turn signal in Florida?Become a News 6 Insider]

Calenda rewatched the body camera footage showing himself alongside two other officers rescuing a woman from a vehicle submerging underwater.

Police say heavy rain caused the Pizza Hut delivery driver to drive into a canal off Cedar in the Wood inside the Colony in the Wood community.

“She wasn’t moving,” explained Calenda, “We had to try and figure out, so all the doors were locked, tried to figure a way to get into it.”

In the body camera footage, you can see Officer Calenda break the driver’s side rear window, but according to Calenda that’s when things took went from bad to worse.

“The car immediately started to go further underwater at that point I tried to reach in and open the door again and I reached further in to grab her and I did and pulled her out of the car and was able to get her head above water first, Calenda said.

Calenda didn’t make the rescue without injury, his arms and hands received several cuts from the glass of the broken window.

“You don’t feel anything, because your brain is solely responsible for the preservation of life,” Calenda said.

With the woman saved and in good condition, Calenda and other officers are being called heroes, a title Calenda said just comes with the job.

“This is what I love, this is what I signed up for, just every day getting a chance to help somebody,” Calenda said.

News 6 did reach out to pizza hut for comment but have not heard back.

Port Orange police say going forward they will use this video as a training tool, saying it’s a good example of what to do for officers in this type of situation.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.