Quick reponse from first responders makes a difference in water rescue

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Related Stories

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 5:13 pm | Updated: 8:30 pm, Tue Aug 20, 2013.

SARASOTA COUNTY – When an Osprey man drove his car into a pond in his neighborhood Tuesday, he had first responders to thank for saving his life.

The crash happened along Rivendell Boulevard Tuesday afternoon. That’s when first responders had to dive in, cut the man out, and try to save his life. At last check 78-year-old Bill Kawalec is in critical condition.

“As it took on water it sort of floated." Rubin Randel lives right around the corner from the neighborhood pond. He says first responders were quickly on the scene. "I have been to other chaotic scenes. I will call this controlled chaos. They knew what they were doing; they performed beautifully."

Captain Susan Pearson with Sarasota County Fire and EMS says two of their responders were there within minutes. Two Sarasota County Sheriff's deputies in full uniform also went jumping in. "The vehicle was completely submerged. Our rescue crew entered the water quickly."

Pearson says the men had to cut the victim out of his safety belt and remove him through the moon roof. He wasn't breathing.

Crews then performed CPR and got a pulse. "For them to act as quickly as they did, pull the man to the surface, and start CPR as quickly as they did is nothing short of miraculous. It was a very heroic effort."

Authorities don't yet know why Kawalec went crashing in. Rubin says his neighbor lives just a few streets away but knows he has a history of heart ailments. “A very nice man; very outgoing, welcoming and jovial."

As far as those who worked to give him a fighting chance, for now they are going un-named. "They will be getting an award for their heroic efforts. We cannot give you their names until the investigation is over," says Capt. Pearson.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating why the car suddenly veered off to begin with.

More about

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.

Right Now

weather

Today

weather
77°
Details

Tomorrow

weather
72°
Details

Today

weather
76°
Details

Today

weather
78°
Details

SUBMIT PHOTOS & VIDEOS | VIEW ALL PHOTOS & VIDEOS

Send your photos & videos to Pix@MySuncoast.com and you could be featured on ABC 7 & our website.