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She Spent Night in Submerged Car Before Help Arrived

Witnesses rescue elderly woman from vehicle in Florida
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2019 10:14 AM CDT
The vehicle is seen at Higel Marine Park after it was towed to the boat ramp.   (Venice Police Department)

(Newser) – An elderly woman was trapped overnight in her car, submerged in a bay in Venice, Fla., before two rescuers arrived by chance. Rob Goodman tells CNN he was kayaking at Higel Marine Park just before sunrise Thursday when he saw the top of a white vehicle in the water. Then, out of a small section of open window, "this little hand and fingers came popping out." Goodman called 911 while he and passerby Ed Coster helped free the trapped woman. "I peered in the window and she literally had just a little bit of air and her face was up against the roof, trying to breathe," Coster tells Fox 13. Once the woman was freed, "I held her like a baby to get some heat on her till rescue got there," Goodman adds.

Venice Police later said the 81-year-old woman, whose identity was not released, was in stable condition. She said she'd been trapped since 10pm the previous night. Fox 13 aired video showing the nose of a vehicle entering the bay, possibly at the boat ramp, after dark. The outlet reports a tidal current then carried the vehicle away from shore. There was "no way anyone would have seen it from the road," police said, referring to Goodman as a "citizen hero." The former reserve deputy from Iowa also gave credit to his new pal, Coster, a retired New York firefighter. The paddleboarder tells Fox 13 he arrived at the boat ramp only because he visited two others earlier but both were closed. (A deceased woman found in her submerged car had been missing since 1992.)

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