CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (WHDH) - A Burlington man and his family are praising the quick-thinking boaters who helped pull him from his sinking car after it crashed into the Charles River Tuesday morning.

Ronaldo Kamers, 40, was driving to work when a truck hit him on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, according to his daughter Thalita Francischetti. His Subaru Outback spun around and plunged 40 feet into the Charles, where it started to sink.

“He said it was kind of like in a movie. He couldn’t believe it was happening to him. He got very scared, at the moment it’s adrenaline … how can I survive?” Francischetti said, adding her father saw the sunroof was open and tried to escape through there. “He left his seatbelt and started jumping and hitting his head up.”

But people on a safety boat monitoring crew rowers as they were making their way down the Charles River had seen the crash and were ready for a rescue.

“In the corner of my view, I saw an object coming over the railing into the river,” said John Lindberg, who was on the safety boat. “Gosh, it was a car!”

Lindberg and a fellow coach helped haul Kamers out of the water to safety, where people on shore were waiting to help as well.

“The other coach slid up and we worked together and got him onto a launch. On the railing I think possibly a couple of doctors were providing instruction as well,” Lindberg said.

Cambridge Deputy Fire Chief Sean White said the driver was lucky the rowers happened to be going by.

“Timing was working in their favor this morning,” he said at the scene.

The pickup truck driver, a 29-year-old Lynn resident, was not injured in the crash but will be summonsed on charges of failing to stop for a red light and driving without registration, state police said. Kamers was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, and as he left was grateful to his rescuers.

“Thank you. Thank you so much,” Kamers said.

This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS for updates online and on-air.

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