A woman was rescued from her vehicle by multiple dive teams working together after her vehicle went into the water on River Road across from Washburn’s Marina Tuesday afternoon.
Roanoke-Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department got the page around 4:05 p.m.
“‘A motor vehicle accident, car was in the lake and the car was submerging,’ is how the call came in,” said Roanoke Wildwood Fire Chief Lorenzo Wilkins.
Wilkins arrived on scene by 4:12 p.m., shortly after Northampton County Emergency Medical Services, and took control of extrication of the one woman inside the vehicle.
“We weren’t sure what side of the lake it was on. We initially thought it was on the big lake, so we deployed the rescue boat,” said Wilkins. The vehicle was on the opposite side of the bridge from the lake that does not have main lake access.
Once he was on the scene, Wilkins saw the vehicle submerged in water and the woman standing with her head and shoulders outside of the sunroof. The vehicle was submerged halfway up its windows.
One of the Northampton County EMS responders was in the water and applying a C-collar on the woman, Wilkins said.
Wilkins put a call out for rescue swimmers, who assisted with patient care in the water and developed a plan for extrication.
Gaston Fire-Rescue-EMS arrived and deployed their divers shortly after Roanoke-Wildwood VFD divers were in the water.
The rescue team stabilized the vehicle by pulling it closer to shore with a winch before they started cutting the vehicle’s A-posts.
Once the woman was removed from the vehicle, she was secured in a rescue basket and the entire crew aided in moving her up the bank.
She was then taken by Northampton EMS ambulance to the Roanoke-Wildwood VFD substation, then airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, N.C.
The total extrication time was roughly 15 minutes from when Wilkins arrived on the scene.
According to Wilkins, the patient was being treated for possible hypothermia, but was conscious and alert.
The rescue workers who were in the water were also checked out by Northampton EMS at Roanoke-Wildwood VFD as a precaution. According to the divers, the water was cold, but there were no injuries.
Wilkins wanted to thank everyone who helped on the scene for their hard work.
“Our training and teamwork shows what we can accomplish together,” he said. “I don’t think we could have asked for a better ending.”
This accident is still under investigation by N.C. State Highway Patrol.