Quick Action by Good Samaritan Saves Man in North Carolina Water Rescue

Story and Photos by Rocky Mount Fire Department Photographer Bob Bartosz

Quick action by a Good Samaritan on Sept. 6, 2014 is being credited in saving the life of an accident victim. Shortly after 7 a.m., Nash County NC 911 Communication Center were receiving reports for an overturned vehicle with a person being pinned/trapped in a ditch and that the vehicle was in the water.

Stony Creek Rescue Truck 3R was dispatched along with Nash EMS Unit 9 and City of Rocky Mount (NC) Fire Department (RMFD) 911 was also getting reports of the accident. RMFD Engine 4, Rescue 1 and 2 along with Battalion Chief 2 were dispatched.

A man driving North on Peele Rd. in Rocky Mount had reported an overturned vehicle with a person trapped. A Good Samaritan Enoc Ramircz had just left the Oaks Mobile Park for work and he noticed another motorist jump out of his vehicle that was parked along Peele Rd. and was pointing toward the creek. Witnesses said that Ramircz ran down to the creek and saw that the victim was pinned inside his vehicle with was partially submerged in the water. He waded into the creek and he could hear the man moaning for help. He tired to open the drivers side of the door and found that it was heavily damaged from the crash. He tried the back door, which would not open, and made his way around to the passenger side and was able to open that door. He found the victim laying on the floor of the water-filled vehicle. He was unable to remove him due to both of his legs being trapped under the dash and the brake pedal. He was able to lift the man’s head above the water, which was now starting to fill the car. He could hear the sirens of the Rescue Units responding.

Stony Creek Rescue 3R was the first unit on location. Safety Officer Linny Pridgen reported that he had a person trapped in a submerged vehicle with a civilian holding the mans head up from the water. Rocky Mount Engine 4 was now arriving and two of their personnel quickly put on their life jackets and headed for the vehicle vehicle while other members assisted Rescue 3R hooking up a chain winch to the rear of the submerged vehicle and connecting it to their Rescue Truck to stabilize the vehicle. Rocky Mount Rescue 1 and 2 were now arriving and went to work in assisting in the rescue operation.

Rocky Mount firefighters Danny Witherington and Michael Stringer made their way to the victim, who was being held by the civilian, while other firefighters were on there way down to help out to open the doors to make entry to the vehicle. (While this was being done, the Good Samaritan disappeared).

This was now a team operation with City and County firefighters working together. Two vehicle extrication spreaders were put into service, removing B post, door on the passenger side, and popping the door on the driver’s side, which had heavily damaged on the impact. Firefighter Michael Stringer was able to enter the driver’s side and free the man’s leg, which was heavily pinned under the brake pedal. This enabled the firefighters to remove the victim from the water-filled front section of the vehicle.

The patient was placed into a Stokes Basket and was removed up the embankment to the road level. He was loaded into Nash County EMS 9. It was reported that the victim was in very bad condition with two broken femurs and two broken legs plus possible head and internal injuries. It was decided that the victim would be removed by air to the Trauma Center in Greenville, North Carolina.

Rocky Mount Engine Co. 6 was dispatched to Engine Co. 4 Station and setup an LZ for the arrival of the helicopter for the patient to be air lifted to Vidant Medical Center.

According to Rocky Mount Fire Captain Summerlin, it appears that the victim was driving northbound on Peele Rd. and lost control of his vehicle, which careened off the road and traveled some distance, possible striking an object and went airborne, flipping over, and landed partially into the embankment into the branch of the creek with the car now facing southbound. The impact heavily damaged the driver’s side door and roof of the vehicle and trapped the driver.

During the investigation firefighters were talking about the Good Samaritan, who went into the water and entered the vehicle to hold the victim’s head above the water; as far as we know he was never submerged under the water, as the hero Ramircz was there with him holding his head up from the water till help arrived.

Later on that afternoon, a firefighter was able to get some information on who this hero may have been. He was a 33-year-old who lived nearby in the Mobile Home Park and was married with two children.

I guess it was a lucky day for both of them in some way being that the passenger door was able to be opened and Ramircz was going by at the right time and was there to hold the victims head up from the water until help arrived.

See more photos from this incident HERE.

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