(ABC)– A Massachusetts woman is lucky to be alive after Arlington police say she accidentally hit the accelerator while backing up near Spy Pond in Arlington around 1:02 p.m. Friday, sending her Ford Edge straight through a fence and plunging about 8 feet into frigid waters.
Three good Samaritans helped rescue the 68-year-old woman as she was trapped inside pounding on the SUV’s passenger-side window.
One of the quick-thinking bystanders wastes no time swimming out to the car but just as he opens the door to help the woman out, the vehicle takes on more water and submerges. Numerous items from the car floated to the surface of the pond as two more rescuers jumped in the water.
Dan Frazier, the second man in the video to leap into action, told ABC News he was on a nearby bike trail with his wife and two friends when they heard the tires screech and the sound of a collision.
Frazier said he turned down the hill about 10 yards away, heard a splash and saw the vehicle enter the water.
“By the time I got there I turned around quickly and said to the rest of the people in my party, ‘There’s a car that went in the water and somebody is in it,'” he recalled of the harrowing experience.
He rushed down to the area where the car went in, tossed aside his bike, took off his outer layer of clothes and jumped in the water. As Frazier swam toward the sinking car he saw one man pounding on the passenger window in an attempt to free the woman, when she eventually reaches the surface gasping for air.
“I could see that she couldn’t swim and she was an older woman and she was struggling at the surface of the water, almost going down again,” Frazier said.
“By the time I got to her she had this terror, frantic look in her eyes and I knew right away she couldn’t swim,” he added. “I grabbed what looked like some kind of flotation device — it was a cushion that had handles on it. I just flung the handles toward her.”
After a few attempts, the woman was able to reach out and grab on to the safety device.
Frazier said she was “floating on the surface with her head up,” which allowed him to pull her close to shore where another man helped lift the woman, who has not yet been publicly identified.
Thinking back on the timing of the events that day, Frazier said, “To me there are no coincidences in the way this all happened the way that it did … We just saw this woman struggling and, I mean, life is precious and you know every life has worth and we were just very glad that the timing was what it was and we were able to help her in this really urgent time of need.”
The crash was an accident and the driver was not impaired in any way, police say. The woman is in the hospital recovering from mild hypothermia.