The Portland Press Herald reports that 84-year-old Ursula Nixon lost control of her car, driving through two fences and submerging her blue Nissan into Maine's Portland Harbor.
"It looked like it was barreling pretty fast," Michael Wells, one of the rescuers, told the paper. "I saw it go over the edge and then water splashed up."
Katie Nelson was first in the water, climbing on top of the sinking vehicle and then through the car's rear window to pull Nixon out to safety.
"I just remember pulling myself up and looking in at her and there was water all in the front of the car and she was in the front seat," Nelson told local NBC affiliate WCSH 6. "I said, 'Hi, I'm Katie,' and she's like, 'I don't want to die in here, I'm going to drown.' And I'm like, 'No, no you're not. You're going to grab my hands and we're going to pull you out.'"
In a video taken of the rescue, the car drops beneath the surface of the ocean just moments after Nixon's rescuers pull her from the vehicle.
Luckily for Nixon, two police officers were nearby, along with a group of firefighters, who were in the middle of rescue training exercises.
After Wells and Nixon emerged from the car, Lt. Robert Slaving swam Nixon back to shore. She was then taken to Maine Medical Center, where she was listed as being in fair condition.
Nearly 30 individuals joined in the rescue effort. No one was seriously hurt, though several people were treated on site for hypothermia. Police are still investigating the exact cause of the crash.
"Her only worry when she got out of the water was did she hurt anybody," Wells told the Herald.
You can watch the full video of Nixon's rescue below:
- Nature & Environment