Submersion Accident in Maine Highlights Injury Risks

In a recent accident, an 84-year-old woman found herself and her vehicle sitting in Maine’s Portland Harbor. According to the New York Daily News, the woman lost control of her vehicle, slammed through two fences and landed in the water. Luckily, there was a group of brave bystanders nearby.
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“It looked like it was barreling pretty fast,” said Mike Wells, one of the bystanders who jumped to the rescue. “I saw it go over the edge and then water splashed up.”

Katie Nelson was grabbing lunch nearby when she hear the accident. Without hesitation, she jumped up, ran over, jumped on top of the car and climbed on the back window to pull the woman out. Our Bangor car accident attorneys understand that Katie was one of the thirty people who ran to the elderly woman’s rescue. Once she was pulled from her vehicle, Lt. Robert Slaving was able to swim her to shore where local firefighters hoisted her to land.

Authorities are still investigating and have not determined a cause of the accident. The elderly driver was transported to the Maine Medical Center. She was last listed in critical condition and is suffering from injuries to her femur as well as injuries to the bones around her eyes. There were a number of the rescuers who were treated for hypothermia at the scene of the accident.

If your vehicle somehow ended up in a body of water would you know what to do?sIt’s a scary event that happens to more people than you might think. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are close to 250 vehicle submersion accidents every year in which at least one person dies. Of these accidents, nearly half had a major frontal crash, more than 10 percent had a major side crash, 2 percent experienced a major rear-end accident.

These kinds of accidents happen, but there are ways that you can escape. Please review the following safety tips for vehicle submersion accidents. Maine’s coastal region presents significant risks, and the state’s ponds, lakes and rivers are often quite dangerous, particularly during the winter and during spring runoff. Knowing what to do during a submersion accident could save your life.

Submersion Safety Tips:

-Keep your seat belt on until you’re ready to leave the vehicle. This will help to keep you steady as you try to break a window or open a door.

-As soon as you hit the water, try to open the window.

-Check out the flow of the water current before swimming to shore.

-If water has already entered your vehicle, wait until pressure is equalized on both sides before trying to open a door.

-If you can’t get out, look for the air pocket in the portion of the car that’s highest or the closest to the top of the water.

Contact Peter Thompson & Associates if you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident. Call 1-800-804-2004 for a free and confidential appointment to speak to a lawyer about your rights.

Additional Resources:

Selfless bystanders race into cold Maine waters to save Ursula Nixon, 84, trapped after car plunges into Portland Harbor, by Christine Roberts, New York Daily News

More Blog Entries:

Leaf Peepers & Advice After a Portland Car Accident, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, September 30, 2012

Maine Traffic Safety: Anger has no Place Behind the Wheel, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, September 16, 2012

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