Man rescued from sunken car

(Original publication: November 18, 2004)

KENT — A man traveling west on the Route 311 causeway veered off the road and rolled into Lake Carmel last night, ending up 20 feet from shore.

Members of the Lake Carmel Fire Department rescued the man from of his fully immersed car shortly after the incident occurred about 8:30 p.m. They smashed the sunroof to get to the driver, a middle-aged man who was the only occupant of the sport-utility vehicle.

The victim's name was not available last night. His rescuers said he had been under water about two minutes when they got him out of the vehicle. He gasped for air and was disoriented, they said. He was taken to Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel.

"We grabbed him, and he took the biggest breath of air ever," said Don Pearlman, one of the Lake Carmel Fire Department volunteers.

The man was conscious and alert by the time he got to the hospital, said Robert Shannon, first assistant chief of the Lake Carmel Fire Department.

As a precautionary measure, the Mahopac Falls Dive Team checked the SUV to make sure there was no one else inside. The man had been incoherent after being taken out of the car, Shannon said.

The Route 311 causeway, which connects with Route 52, was closed after the incident. About 50 onlookers stood on the lake shore on the Route 52 side. A tow truck arrived about 9:30 p.m. to pull the car from the water.

Besides Pearlman, Lake Carmel Fire Department members Brant Ryan, Brian McMahon and Mike O'Brien rescued the victim. Kent police responded to the incident and were assisted by members of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department. The Lake Carmel, Patterson and Carmel ambulance companies went to the scene, Shannon said.


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Wednesday, January 5, 2005