LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) — Lynn Haven police said 73-year-old Rita Diane Thomas was confused, cold, and probably suffering from hypothermia when first responders pulled her from her car.
The car was submerged in a neighborhood canal off Windjammer Drive.
But miraculously she was not seriously hurt.
No one is positive about why she drove into the canal.
Around the time of the incident on Tuesday, our weather forecast shows intense rain in that area of Lynn Haven.
“She did say to officers at the hospital that she was just out driving around,” Lynn Haven Police Lieutenant Steve Enfinger said. “I think she had gone done some shopping and after she got done shopping, she was just out driving around. So it may have been she wasn’t real familiar with that area combined with the weather that made her turn down that driveway like that.”
Thomas is from Panama City.
None of the Windjammer drive residents recognized her or her car.
“And we just stood there and we were contemplating, is there someone in the car, is there not someone in the car? We don’t know,” Resident Pete Gleason.
Lynn Haven police officers said they took action as soon as they saw a body.
“When they broke the window, I see two hands come up, start grabbing for the air and fortunately it was somebody alive,” Gleason said.
Gleason said they believe Thomas was underwater for one to two hours based on neighbors’ surveillance video.
Her only source of oxygen came from a small air pocket near the roof of the car.
Enfinger said Thomas would have probably drowned if she was in there much longer.
Residents are amazed by Thomas’ fight for life.
“It was definitely somebody looking out for her,” Gleason said.