MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews rescued two people Friday whose vehicle crashed into a retention pond. Witnesses said the driver may have been trying to avoid another car when the van careened into the murky waters.
Fire Rescue officials confirmed that two people, a man, and a woman, were pulled from the water.
Paramedics were seen performing CPR on both victims at the scene.
They both were taken to Kendall Regional Hospital where the man died on Friday night and the woman remains in critical condition.
The crash occurred in the area of Southwest 117th Avenue and Eighth Street, near Florida’s Turnpike.
Miami-Dade police, Sweetwater police, Miami-Dade Schools Police and the Florida Highway Patrol also responded to the scene, and bystanders initially also jumped into the water after the crash to help.
“We tried to go in the water, but the police didn’t let us,” witness Elias Moreno said.
Moreno said the driver of a van tried to avoid crashing with another vehicle when he lost control.
“The car that is in the lake was getting off on Eighth Street when he tried to avoid hitting another car and (then) he crashed into the water,” he said.
“The vehicle lost control, overturned, driving off of the roadway into the pond behind me here,” FHP Lt. Alex Camacho confirmed.
Multiple alligators were spotted nearby in the water, but that didn’t stop first responders from working quickly to remove the victims.
Officers with long guns stood nearby during the operation to make sure the gators didn’t come too close.
Authorities confirmed that a car seat was found in the van, but luckily, there were no children in the vehicle.
“There was a child restraint seat in the back so the initial concern was that there was a child in the vehicle. But the divers and the Miami-Dade Rescue confirmed that they rescued the two occupants, the two adults and there was nobody else,” Camacho said.
The off-ramp to Southwest Eighth Street from the southbound lanes of the Turnpike was closed during the rescue operation.
The victims’ identities have not yet been released.
Investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol continue to investigate exactly what caused the crash.