Escaping a submerged car

Car in Silver Lake

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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Aaron Richard owns Silver Lake Fun Bike and Boat Rentals. Everything was normal there until about 5:30 p.m. Sunday evening.

“All of a sudden we heard this huge pop and it looked like it was something from the far side of the lake so we all looked over there and we saw this huge splash,” Richard said.

So one of his workers immediately went over to help and he joined them shortly after. That was when they realized a car had gone into Silver Lake.

“I couldn’t believe how shallow it was up there first of all, it was probably three to four feet and I couldn’t believe how far the car was out on the lake. It was probably out there a good, 30, 40 yards,” Richard said.

Luckily for the woman in this case, there were some people there to help her out.

If you are ever caught in a situation like this, firefighters say to do your best to stay calm.

“When you panic nothing good comes out of it. You’ve got to try to stay calm. Take a second, take a breath and think about what you need to do and hopefully the rest comes naturally,” said Captain Ross Baker of the Rochester Fire Department.

He says the next step is to unbuckle and do not try to open your door if your window does not work.

“It’s going to be next to impossible to do because you have the pressure of the water holding the door shut. If you’re strong enough to open it, you’re going to have a huge inrush of water through that big opening of the door,” Baker said.

He said you can try kicking out your window because it will break eventually, but there are other means that do not take as much of your energy.

“This isn’t very practical for people to keep on their person so another thing that we have on the fire service is called a rescue me tool. This is the same thing, it’s a window punch built into this little thing here, you push that against the window and a little punch come out, shatters the window,” Baker said.

He said the next step is one of the most important: get out, get to safety and call 911, which is what Richard’s employee Archie Langdon helped out with in this situation.

“Most of us are trained in CPR. Other than that, just common sense and instincts is what we use when we go out there and help people,” Richard said.

Baker said the rescue me tools are relatively inexpensive and can be found in most area stores.

He does say to keep in mind that if you use the tool in an underwater situation the water will rush in toward you and so will glass, so be sure to protect your face.

No injuries were reported in the incident but the firefighter’s reports say that police are investigating the incident.

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