Flagler County deputies and firefighters rescued two adults and a child from a car submerged in a water-filled ditch on Jan. 5 around 6 p.m. on S.R. 100 West in Palm Coast.
A safety organization gave tips on what to do during a situation like this.
A neighbor called 911 when he noticed the car in the ditch.
“There’s a car…ran off the road and is in the big deep canal right here. I don’t know if there’s injuries or what that is,” the caller said. “I was leaving and I come out of my driveway and my fence is torn down and I got to looking and the car is over in this big deep canal.”
The caller told dispatch that he yelled at the car with no response. Shortly after that, deputies arrived and could be seen on body camera video.
“We got a kid in here. This baby’s head is barely above water. No, just barely above….We got a female over here but she’s bleeding heavily,” a deputy said.
Former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Director Tom Hackney saw the video and said the deputies had to move quickly when they got there. The woman and child were safely removed from the car and no deputies were hurt.
The ditch can be easily missed because it’s in a rural area and there’s minimal to no lighting at night.
The Kids and Car Safety organization said car submersion injuries and deaths are largely underestimated and unknown. Amber Rollins, the group’s director, urged families to be prepared.
“They’re very lucky [because] not everyone survives and we have documented so many incredibly tragic cases of people crashing into water, and not being found for days, weeks, months, sometimes even years,” Rollins said. “We want people to remember ‘SWOC’. Seatbelts off, the ‘S’, window open, ‘W O’ is out immediately and then ‘C’ is children first.”
Rollins said the organization wants the SWOC tips to be ingrained in people’s memories so that they don’t have to think in the event of an emergency.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.