Florida police snipers recently provided cover for divers as they plunged into a pond full of alligators during a water rescue mission.
The search-and-rescue operation began when police responded to calls about a submerged blue Toyota minivan that had crashed into a retention pond off of a highway exit ramp in west Miami-Dade County.
However, when police unexpectedly encountered several alligators lurking in the waters, they immediately called for heavy-duty backup.
Florida Highway Patrol told WSVN that the vehicle lost control and overturned, landing in the pond full of reptiles. Two adults, including a man and an elderly woman, were eventually pulled from the vehicle.
“The vehicle lost control, overturned, driving off of the roadway into the pond,” FHP Lt. Alex Camacho said. “Dive teams from fire rescue and Miami-Dade Police did their search and rescue, and were able to rescue an adult female and adult male inside of the vehicle at the time.”
To protect divers during the search-and-rescue mission, police snipers positioned themselves on a hill looking over the water to shoot any alligators that got too close to rescuers.
Aerial footage from WSVN showed the officers lying on their stomachs aiming through their scopes. In addition to police, fire and EMS personnel, officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were also on the scene to assist.
The two people pulled from the crashed minivan were both found to be in critical condition. Paramedics on the scene immediately began to administer CPR to the elderly woman, and then transported both individuals to HCA Florida Kendell Hospital. Mario Matos later died in the hospital, but his mother, Nieves Matos, is expected to live thanks to the lifesaving action of good Samaritans who reported the crash and the brave first responders who risked their lives to dive into the murky waters.