A fisherman informed police after discovering what looked to be a Jeep nearly fully submerged in a lake in Texas. When the police came, they found a woman inside who was still alive.
According to USA Today, the call came to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on Friday morning. A fisherman on Lake O’ the Pines reported seeing a black Jeep submerged approximately 40 feet from a boat launch.
Deputies arrived on the site about 18 minutes later and judged it was too risky to wade into the river, according to Capt. Chuck Rogers. They waited for the wrecker service to come, which had previously been hired. The fisherman then escorted the wrecker man to the Jeep in his boat which was affixed with a hook and cable to pull it out of the water.
“It was at that time they saw the woman,” Rogers said. “The fisherman and wrecker employee was able to help the woman from the jeep. They placed her into the boat and she was brought to shore.”
Rogers said the woman was placed in a car to assist her to warm up because it was cooler than usual that morning and raining. He stated he didn’t know how long the Jeep was in the water, but the woman showed it was at least a couple of hours.
The woman was treated for hypothermia by emergency personnel. She was then taken to a nearby hospital. During their investigation, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office determined that the lady had been reported missing by the Longview Police Department in Texas, which is roughly 25 miles south of where the Jeep was recovered.
Longview Police told Insider that they were unable to share any details about the case, the woman’s identity, or when she was reported missing. The facts of the woman’s survival remain unknown, such as how much water had spilled into the vehicle or how much oxygen was still accessible.
Cat Bigney, a survival specialist who has taught at the Boulder Outdoor Survival School for decades, told Insider that surviving hours underwater in a submerged car is not unheard of. She described a submerged car as “an urgent survival situation” since brain death usually occurs within four minutes of oxygen deprivation.
She did, however, say that there have been examples of individuals surviving for hours or being resurrected, especially when the water is frigid. “This is a physiological uncommon situation that is still being studied,” Bigney explained, suggesting possible causes such as metabolic shutdown.
A guy survived three days underwater on a sunken tug boat off the coast of Nigeria in 2013. The man found an air pocket and was able to survive until divers searching for bodies found him. In 2015, an 18-month-old daughter survived after spending 14 hours in a submerged car after an accident threw her mother’s vehicle into a river.
Bigney said that the most essential thing to remember in this scenario is to remain calm.
“Act quickly but don’t panic. You may only have a minute to get out, but you must stay focused,” she said.
Open the door if you are able. Often, due to the pressure of the water, this is not an option, in which case you should open the window. If you’re having trouble rolling the window down, you might need to get creative to find anything in the car that you can use to break it.
“Worst case, the car door can often be opened when the car is fully submerged and pressure equilibrium is reached after the car fills with water,” she said. When exiting the vehicle, be cautious of shattered glass and do not hesitate to retrieve any possessions.
If you can’t get out of the car, Bigney suggests using a bag of some kind, such as a garbage bag, to absorb any residual air before the vehicle fills up. “This will only help for a while,” she said, “but could make a difference.”