Man who rescued friend from car in water says 'I did it for the family'
A man who dived into the sea to pull a close friend out of her overturned car said it was a “miracle” that she did not die.
Larry Simmons, 24, added that he was driven by instinct when he and emergency responders pried open the back door of her car before she drowned.
He said: “Everything was going through my mind at the time, but I couldn’t really think at that moment – it was more just taking action.”
Mr Simmons added: “I just really had to do what I could to get her out of the car because there was so much on the line.
“She has a daughter and I can’t just let her mother go and have her out of her daughter’s life at such a young age.
“So I did it for her, I did it for the family, I did it for me – I was just making sure that she was out of the car alive.”
Mr Simmons was speaking after the 28-year-old driver was released from the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital last Thursday after her car crashed through the wooden barriers near the West End Sailboat Club in Sandys and landed upside down in the water.
She was saved with the help of police officers, soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment Coast Guard and other first responders.
The incident happened last Tuesday just before 10pm.
Mr Simmons, from Sandys, who is a close friend of the family, said that he was babysitting the driver’s daughter, aged 8, with the help of her sister while she was at a dinner in Dockyard.
He said that the driver’s boyfriend called because he was concerned that he had not heard from her and he and the woman’s sister set out on Mr Simmons’s bike to search for her.
Mr Simmons said: “While I was riding she was coming out of Dockyard.
“We weren’t quite sure if it was her or not, so we made a U-turn and then followed the car.”
He added: “The car was too far ahead of us, then all of a sudden before we got to Watford Bridge the car disappeared.
“We had backtracked to see where the car had gone because at that moment we didn’t know it was overboard.
“On our way going back to Somerset we saw the police car just parked on the side of where the car wreck was.
“We both had a feeling that it was her.”
Mr Simmons said that he saw the car overturned into the water and “immediately had a feeling that it was her”.
He said that police officers were on the side of the road using a flashlight to look for signs of occupants of the car.
Mr Simmons added that his first instinct was to take off his shoes and bike gear and dive into the water to help.
He said: “I just took it upon myself to just go ahead and jump right in – I had no time wasted, I just knew from my first instinct that I had to go and just get this girl out of this car.”
Mr Simmons admitted that he was hesitant at first because he had injured both his knees playing football and was still recovering from an operation in August.
But he added: "I had to really just risk it – this was more important than just my knee, I had to save somebody’s life.“
Mr Simmons said: “I jumped in and realised that she wasn’t in the front passenger’s side or the driver’s side.
“I was yelling and she was communicating with me, which was a good thing because it meant that it wasn’t fully submerged.”
Mr Simmons said that two police officers helped him open a rear door of the car and they pulled her out.
He added that he was “with her the whole time” until an ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital.
The woman suffered a broken leg and internal injuries, including cracked ribs and swelling in her lungs.
The driver’s sister, who asked not to be named, said that the victim was discharged from hospital last Thursday and spent Christmas with her family.
She admitted that she thought her sister was dead until she heard her shout for help.
The woman said: “I was thinking ’I have to go home and I have to tell her baby that her mom is not coming home’.
“It was so much, but I heard her voice and I was still freaking out, but I knew she was alive and that changed everything.”
The woman said that she was still amazed that her sister survived the crash.
She added: “I don’t know how she didn’t break all of the bones in her body – it’s just so crazy that she was spared.”