Witnesses risk own lives to save woman sinking in car
PORTLAND, Maine (WHDH) -- A home video shows how quickly passers-by worked to get 84-year old Ursula Nixon to safety as her car sunk into the Portland harbor.
Police said they have no idea what was behind the crash, but witnesses said it took just seconds for Nixon's car to run a stop sign on India Street and hit the water.
Mike Wells was on a break at Auto Europe across the street.
“I looked over and I saw the car coming through the parking lot, it looked like it was going pretty fast and I saw it go over the edge and water coming up and that scared me,” said Wells.
Wells was among those who then ran for the water. Others called 911.
"It was kind of nerve-wracking. Kind of chaotic, trying to figure it out, trying to call for help,” said Wells.
Police happened to be on patrol at the Maine state pier next door. Firefighters were training at Ocean Gateway.
They got to the water quickly, but Lt. Robert Slaving said this was a true team effort.
You can see in the video that even as he, in the orange vest, approaches the car an unidentified woman had almost completely pulled Nixon out.
"Without the efforts of the bystanders and the police officers, it might have been a completely different outcome,” said Lt. Slaving.
Paramedics used ropes to pull Nixon out of the water. Many of those who jumped in also had to be treated for hypothermia, but all in all, everyone at the scene was feeling lucky.
"It was good timing, it was good job on everybody's part. Everybody did a good job. People helping out. "
Nixon is badly hurt, but in stable condition, thanks to a little bit of luck and a lot of caring witnesses.