NBC10.com - Cydney Long
Strangers work with a state trooper to save four people trapped in a submerged car in South Jersey. NBC10's Cydney Long has the story.
Debra Roselli says she immediately thought of her own children when she spotted four people trapped inside a waterlogged vehicle in Absecon.
"I would hope somebody would act the way my husband did to save them if that happened to them," she said.
Roselli, her husband, Luis, of Gibbsboro, and a New Jersey State Trooper, are being hailed as heroes after their daring water rescue.
The ordeal began Friday around 5 p.m. Bryan Marticorena, a 19-year-old army reservist, was driving along Route 30 when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a retention pond.
"As soon as we hit the water the car was just done," said Marticorena. "It just filled up with water quick."
Marticorena's 21-year-old sister, Carmen Valdivieso, and his two friends, James Taylor, 22, and John Taylor, 19, were also inside the car. While Bryan was able to escape the vehicle, the others were still trapped.
"When the water settled, I saw four tires sticking up out of the water," said Luis.
Another man who spotted the submerged car was State Trooper Jaime Ablett, who was heading home after finishing a shift. Ablett radioed for Fire and EMS services and then jumped into the water, where he was joined by Luis. The two men swam towards the trapped passengers.
Valdivieso was wearing a seatbelt and unable to unlatch it. Police say Roselli cut the belt using a knife given to him by responders and the two rescuers pulled the passengers to land.
"People were grabbing me for dear life," said Luis.
"They were shivering and their skin color was blue," said Ablett.
Luis says one of the men who was rescued was unconscious when they brought him to land.
"That's when I called for my wife for CPR," he said.
"I ran over and gave him CPR," said Debra. "He started gasping and he was awake."
All four of the car's occupants were taken to Atlantic City Regional Medical Center, where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries.
While Marticorena continues to recover, he is grateful for the three heroes.
"Thank you for everything," he said. "I just appreciate everything. It was really like a miracle."