DORAL, Fla. – Members of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue technical rescue team said they were surprised that a man whose car was wrapped around a palm tree after a crash on Florida's Turnpike was alive.
More than two dozen firefighters worked to save Carmelo Gonzalez after Wednesday's crash near Quail Roost Drive in southwest Miami-Dade County.
"You think you've seen it all until you show up to the next one," paramedic Alex Gomez said.
Gonzalez, 44, was traveling north on the Turnpike when another driver cut him off, causing him to lose control of his silver Toyota and slam into the tree. He was trapped inside his mangled car and had to be extricated.
"Seeing the nature of that accident … we were very stunned that he was still alive," paramedic Caleb Mendez said.
It took firefighters more than an hour to free him.
"I just want to thank them," Gonzalez's daughter, Cynthia Gonzalez, said. "We do. My whole family wants to thank them, because I knew it took a lot of time and it took a lot of effort and they didn't give up on him."
But to the first responders, it was just another day on the job.
"We were happy to be there and happy we could help," Mendez said.
Gonzalez suffered two broken legs and a broken arm in the crash. He is expected to remain in a hospital for several more weeks.
Gonzalez's family created a GoFundMe page to help pay for his medical expenses.