NORWALK, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — A body camera captured a daring rescue, as firefighters and police officers jumped into action when a car plunged down an embankment – and landed upside down – in the Norwalk River.
As CBS2’s Emily Smith reported, police officer body cam video shows two firefighters and a police officer physically ripping off the door of a car – as they are just about to realize someone’s in the vehicle.
“We’ve got one! We’ve got one!” one of the first responders is heard saying. “It’s occupied!”
Crews used a long safety rope to help guide first responders in the pitch dark. Norwalk police Lt. Terry Blake said the victim – a 35-year-old man — was breathing and alert when hoisted from the driver seat of the vehicle
“He was verbally responsive to the firefighters and police officers at the scene,” Blake said.
Police said the driver lost control near the intersection of Main and Wall streets in Norwalk early Sunday morning.
They said he plowed through a metal fence and then went over the embankment, crash-landing 30 feet below upside down in the Norwalk River.
Once first responders received a 911 call from a passerby, they didn’t hesitate to get into the freezing, fast-moving water. Alejandro Partida saw the aftermath from his family restaurant.
“I’m surprised they took him out that quickly, honestly, because I saw how he went down pretty far in and everything and they hoisted him up, and I saw that happen, and I saw him take him out on the stretcher and everything,” Partida said. “They did it in, I’d say, less than 20 minutes.”
“I’ve seen footage from the car, and the car was pretty totaled,” said Antonio Lopez of Norwalk. “So I would say he definitely had God on his side.”
The rescuing first responders were equally amazed.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Blake said. “I mean, that certainly is an accident that could have been a fatality, so he’s very lucky to be alive.”
The victim has not been charged. Police said they are looking into whether alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash that resulted in the dangerous and brave rescue.
Paramedics treated the victim on the scene before taking him to the hospital. CBS2 is told he has serious injuries.