The streets are quiet at 4 a.m. in Winchendon, Massachusetts. It’s the wee hours of the morning on Sunday in the dead of winter. Nearly everyone in town is bundled up in sweaters and blankets, sleeping soundly in their beds and without a care in the world.
There were only two people out and about in town at that time. And as it would turn out, one would end up saving the life of the other. Corey Wilson was plowing the church parking lot when he saw a car skid on a thin layer of ice, and hit the icy waters of Hunts Pond with violence.
Corey Wilson was plowing a church parking lot ahead of Sunday service at 4:09 a.m. He called emergency services when he noticed a car skid on the ice and fall into Hunts Pond.
“Sargent Dan Woliski arrived on the scene and advised dispatch there was a car in the water with a subject still in the vehicle,” reads the Facebook post made by the Winchendon Fire Department. “Deputy Fire Chief Ricci Ruschioni requested Winchendon Tower 1 and our Dive Team to the scene.”
The man inside the vehicle was able to crawl out through one of his windows and climb on top of the car. The dive team breathed a sigh of relief, knowing they were no longer working against the clock to save a man from drowning. But he was still stranded in frigid waters, and the car he was standing on was sinking quickly.
Police, fire department, and emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene. Time was working against them as the driver was stranded on the roof of the sinking vehicle.
The car was about 10 feet from the shore and the frigid ice water of Hunts Pond was somewhere between 8 and 10 feet deep. Divers started to put on survival suits to jump into the water and get the man safely to shore. They advised him to remain standing on the roof.
But just as they told him that, the car took on more water started sinking too quickly. They didn’t have time to get the suits on, and scratched their initial plan.
“Winchendon Fire Lieutenant Peters got a throw rope and threw it to the subject as the car was now quickly sinking. Peters told the subject to tie the rope around himself and with help from a Winchendon DPW foreman Randy Paul, Winchendon Police Sgt Woliski, Lieutenant Peters, and Deputy Chief Ruschioni, we all pulled the subject safely to shore.”
Emergency responders threw the man a rope and told him to tie it around himself. It took four responders to pull him to safety.
The car was pulled out of the pond later that night, and everyone cleared the scene within two hours of the incident occurring. Thankfully, nobody was harmed at any point as a result of the accident.
“This was a great team effort by all agencies involved,” the Facebook post read.
Corey Wilson, the man who was plowing the church parking lot for parishioners on Sunday morning, is the silent hero. Right place, right time, to be sure. But he also acted quickly and alerted emergency services, assuring that the driver would get the help he needed to survive.