How to escape a submerged vehicle

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Carolina Guzman
Published: Updated:

It only takes one minute for a submerged car to fill with water.

Earlier this week, five Fort Myers teens died in a vehicle that crashed into a retention pond.

Fort Myers Police still have not said how or why this car ended up in the water.

After 30 seconds, a car can fill up halfway with water. Within another 30 seconds, the car will be completely submerged.

“It is vital for people to know how to use that minute wisely,” said Iona McGregor Fire District Lt. Jason Lambert. “You can save your life and the lives of others.”

The first thing Lambert recommends is to brace for impact.

Next, roll your windows down, undo your seatbelt and of those in the back seats. Don’t try to open doors and don’t waste time calling 911, officials said. 

“You can call 911 when you get to the surface,” said Lambert, “or you can find someone once you get out.”

He said his best advice is to get a center punch tool to break a window and get to safety in seconds.

If you don’t have a center punch, Lambert suggests find something hard and sharp. For instance, you can pull off your headrest and use its poles to punch through the corner of a window. 

He said finding a way to stay calm and work quickly is key.

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