High school seniors rescue driver from car in lake

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WHDH) – Three high school seniors dove into a Hollywood lake to help a driver after, officials said, he drove into the water, Friday morning.

According to Davie Fire Rescue, the motorist lost control of his Smart car and careened into the lake, near T.Y. Park, just after 11 a.m.

The good Samaritans, students at Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School, were attending their Senior Day picnic at the park when they saw the car in the lake.

“One of the girls says, ‘Oh, a car just went into the water,’” one of the students, Jose Cabrera, said, “and we all heard that splash.”

Cellphone video shows the teens in the water, next to the partially submerged car. Moments later, a lifeguard could be seen running into the water.

By that time, officials said, the three young men had already helped the driver out of the car and taken him to shore.

One of the teens described how they were able to pull the driver to safety. “We were finally, like, pushing the door, and we both put our feet on the door and stuff and ripped the door open,” said Ryan Seilkop. “We were taking him out, and the car just started going [underwater].”

They pulled him out just before the entire car submerged into the water, a second teen said.

“Then I start pushing him to the mangroves and then when he has his hands caught, like I can see he’s fine, that’s when we all got out of the water, when he was OK,” said Cabrera.

Cabrera said the driver appeared to be in a daze. “We were the most stressed-out ones in all of it. It’s like he wasn’t processing what’s going on,” said Jose Cabrera. “We were the stressed-out ones. He was the calmest one.”

Davie Fire Rescue, along with Hollywood Police and Fire Rescue, also responded to the scene after the driver was rescued.

“We were called to a vehicle in the lake,” said Davie Fire Rescue Diver Colin Bairy. “The vehicle had driven into the lake. One person had been recovered from the vehicle.”

Officials said there were two dogs inside the vehicle, named Kirk and Spock. The former did not survive because the car was underwater for about 15 minutes.

“When we tried to get the dog, the car was already drowning, so we could only save the guy,” said another rescuer, Samuel Rivera.

But rescue divers were able to pull Spock to safety, despite spending nearly 15 minutes underwater.

“We had the information that a second dog had been inside the vehicle, so I entered the water as a primary diver and did a search of the vehicle,” said Bairy. “We were looking after finding the dog in the vehicle and the dog had managed to find an air pocket in the top of the vehicle.”

Police and fire rescue crews have not confirmed the cause of the incident and the condition of the driver. The driver is expected to be OK.

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