Firefighters in Indianapolis rushed to a retention pond on the city’s south side on New Year’s Eve after a woman called 911 from her sinking car.
“It’s filling up. It’s cold,” she shouted to an emergency dispatch operator at about 8:30 p.m., the Indianapolis Star reported.
“Dispatch had been on the phone with the person in the car and the call dropped as soon as she started to go under the water,” IFD Battalion Chief Rita Reith told Fox59.
Multiple people who witnessed the SUV drive onto the pond also called the police.
One bystander reported seeing the car leave the parking lot of Sundance Apartments, go over a curb, and onto an embankment on the pond.
It then drove about 150 yards onto the ice before it broke through and sank.
Emergency dispatchers tried to guide the woman to an exit during when she said, “It’s coming in, it’s filling up,” the Indianapolis Star reported. Almost two minutes after she called for help, her phone went dead.
When firefighters from the Indianapolis Fire Department got to her, the car was mostly submerged, but they could still hear her banging on the windows.
They tried to reach her with a ladder but were unable to. A few minutes later, a dive team arrived and went into the water to get her.
They broke the window of the vehicle’s sunroof and were able to pull the woman out.
She was about 12 feet under water when they got to her, and she was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Her name has not yet been released.
“It’s unclear as to how or why she was on the ice, but she came from a parking lot area, got onto the pond somehow and drove about 150 yards before, either she realized she was on the pond, or she was driving and the pond just broke through, we’ll never really know until we can talk to her,” Reith told Fox59.
The fire department said that calls to dispatch reported that there was more than one person in the vehicle, but after going in to search for more, determined that she had been alone. The woman also confirmed that she was the sole occupant of the vehicle.
Rescuers also tried to get the woman’s SUV out, but had to admit defeat when their gear froze.
Temperatures that day, according to Weather Underground, averaged 5 degrees.
As of Jan. 2, the woman remained in critical condition at Eskenazi Hospital, Reith said.
She also said that due to the weather, they haven’t been able to retrieve the vehicle.