North Carolina Man Trapped Underwater for 20 Minutes Rescued

A man from North Carolina was submerged in three feet of water after his vehicle fell into a ditch while traveling on the Interstate 95 (I-95) highway in South Carolina.

The man suffered cardiac arrest and severe injuries after being underwater for more than 20 minutes.

Two witnesses, who were also traveling on the I-95, stopped to help him and his passenger. Richard Hughes, a firefighter EMT from Jasper County Fire & Rescue Department, happened to be on his way home from work when he came across the accident. He also helped at the scene before the Colleton County Fire-Rescue crew arrived.

Hughes noted: "It was pure luck that I had delayed my trip home that morning. It's rare to see an incident with that severity of damage and not already have responders on scene. The bystanders did a great deal of help making access even prior to my arrival."

Speaking to Newsweek, Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy said: "A NC [North Carolina] man and a semi-truck driver working for Dominion Energy stopped and actually got into the water. They forced open the rear passenger door and got the passenger out. They were unable to get the other man out due to him being trapped.

"The occupant was a 19-year-old male from Beaufort NC. The submerged man was a 57-year-old male, also from North Carolina. Both suffered multiple traumatic injuries. Neither man was wearing a seatbelt."

The Toyota Sequoia SUV was reported to have flipped over several times before landing on its roof in the water, according to witnesses.

"Firefighter-paramedics used a winch and Holmatro rescue tools to extricate him from the car. Following the extrication they performed CPR, administered medications and controlled his airway during transport to Colleton Medical Center in Walterboro. The 57-year-old had more severe injuries and was in cardiac arrest when he was extricated," McRoy told Newsweek.

"Fire-Rescue transported him to the ED [emergency department of the hospital] with additional firefighter-paramedics on board assisting with his care. The 19-year-old was also transported by Fire-Rescue Ambulance to Colleton Medical Center. He was stable and suffered non-life threatening injuries," he added.

The hospital staff at Colleton Medical Center were able to restore the older man's pulses. He was transferred by the rescue team and the CARE flight medical crew stationed at Colleton Medical Center to the trauma center of the Trident Medical Center in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Speaking to Newsweek, a spokesperson for Jasper County Fire & Rescue Department said: "Richard provided aid until Fire-Rescue arrived on scene, and continued to help them until the EMS arrived. He was on his way home from shift when he came to the wreck, he was delayed leaving shift that morning which put him in the right place at the right time."

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.

Last week, a California man was arrested over Memorial Day weekend after spending nearly two hours in a car he crashed into a pond of liquid manure.

First responders located the vehicle after around 50 minutes of searching, spotting it was "partially submerged in a liquid manure storage pond."

California Highway Patrol units arrived on the scene and the man was reported to have shown "objective signs and symptoms of alcohol intoxication" while talking to officers.

Following further investigation, it was confirmed that he was under the influence of alcohol, police said. He was arrested after spending almost two hours "neck-deep" in the pond.