One person has died after a car carrying two people crashed into a retention pond, prompting a daring underwater rescue from first responders as police stood watch with long guns onshore looking out for alligators.
The crash took place in Florida on Friday when a blue Toyota minivan was moving south on the Florida Turnpike in West Miami-Dade, according to authorities.
The Florida Highway Patrol said that shortly before 12pm the vehicle was exiting to head west when the driver lost control of the vehicle while turning right on the exit ramp. The car flipped over before entering the water.
“The vehicle lost control, overturned, driving off of the roadway into the pond,” Lieutenant Alex Camacho told WSVN. “Dive teams from fire rescue and Miami-Dade Police did their search and rescue, and were able to rescue an adult female and adult male inside of the vehicle at the time.”
Both Mario Laza, 56, and his mother Nieves Matos, 80, were taken to HCA Florida Kendall Hospital in critical condition. It was later confirmed that Mr Laza, a gas station employee and mechanic, died at the medical centre.
Early reports from the highway patrol indicated that there was a child in the car because a child seat was spotted in the vehicle, but first responders later said no child was present.
Witnesses who saw the crash also entered the murky waters to help. Some were stopped by police from getting into the water. The wrecked minivan was pulled from the pond and towed from the area.