VENICE, FLA. - It was a quiet afternoon in the Harbor Lights mobile home park on Monday, February 10th. Larry Tombaugh from North Port was relaxing on dock of a home he was house-sitting for when he heard a woman screaming for help.
“I heard a loud, I guess, I presume it was a scream and then I heard the crash and then there was a lady calling for help.”
Tombaugh jumped into action running two doors down and discovered Dottie Bone had accidentally driven her electric wheelchair into the canal.
“This is where I found her down here in the water and the chair was over to that side between the far two posts” Tombaugh pointed to a spot about 15 feet below where he was standing.
According to a neighbor, Bone lives in the Harbor Lights mobile home park and would often drive her wheelchair into the back yard to watch the wildlife. The neighbor who did not wish to be identified told ABC 7 Bone’s electric wheelchair had touchy controls and the concrete deck where Bone went into the water did not have a railing.
Tombaugh was the only person around when the accident happened and he dialed 911 while lying on the dock holding onto Bone, keeping her head above the water. He said she had serious injuries to her face but she remained calm.
“She was conscience the whole time and talking with me. I basically just held onto to her head. She was in a sitting position, we didn’t move her and held her hand and talked to her.”
The paramedics arrived a few minutes later and removed Bone from the water. Tombaugh is a reluctant hero saying he only did what anyone else would have done.
“It was just a response you know, helping somebody out, that is all.”
Dottie Bone was flown by medical helicopter to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton where she is still recovering from her injuries including a broken leg and a cracked rib.