A car drove off Kelly Drive and into the Schuylkill River near Boathouse Row at about 9 a.m. Thursday, and the first two people on the scene to help were a rower and a biker.
"I just see this car rolling backwards into the river and that's not something you see everyday...I rowed my boat over there as fast as I could," Christopher DeFelice told NBC Philadelphia.
There were two people in the car to which DeFelice swam in the cold river. While DeFelice swam one of the men to shore, another passerby came to the rescue for the second man.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
DeFelice watched a cyclist jump into the water and pull the other person out.
"The cyclist jumped in and was able to get the second kid which was really good because the second kid was struggling pretty bad," DeFelice said.
Police say the driver lost control of his car along Kelly Drive and swerved into the water. Skid marks from the car were visible at the water’s edge at the location it went into the river.
Two other rowers watched the scene from a distance but were too far away to help quickly.
"They didn't know how to swim at all and one guy was almost going to be gone," said Lisa Zanchetti of Philadelphia.
"We felt so powerless in some ways to help and we were trying to help and we were thankful that somebody did rescue them," said Teri Dicesare of Media. "[It] would've been very hard to have seen someone perish and to have been so close and not be able to help."
The two men, who are in their 20s, were transported to Hahnemann Hospital and treated for hypothermia, authorities say.