The Miami-Dade Police Department in Florida recently released body-cam footage of the heroic rescue effort of a 3-year-old who was trapped inside a submerged car in February.
Officers who responded to the scene and rescued the child recounted their experience in a video released by the department on March 15.
Sergeant Edward Webster, who was first at the scene, described how difficult it was to access the car, which was submerged in a canal. He then requested more units to help with the rescue operation.
In the body-cam video, a female caller could be heard speaking to a dispatcher in Spanish. The woman reported that multiple passengers were still stuck inside the sinking vehicle.
Without hesitation, Officer Emmanuel Walton III took the initiative to jump into the canal.
“Somebody had to make the choice to get in, and I just acted,” Walton recalled.
He then decided to cut the car seat before pulling it out as hard as he could in order to extract the child from the vehicle.
Walton shared that he was unsuccessful in his initial attempts to rescue the child from the submerging car seat. “I couldn’t see through the water, so I had to come back up a couple of times,” he said, explaining that he had to use touch to eventually feel his way to the car seat. “I pulled it as hard as I could, because I couldn’t figure out where the seatbelt was … luckily it broke off.”
Walton then handed the unresponsive child to fellow Officer Reyes, who passed the child to another officer. The 3-year-old boy was carried to the grass, where an emergency crew member initiated CPR.
The resuscitation efforts were successful, and the child began breathing again.
“When the baby started crying, I started crying, too, because it was the best cry I ever heard in my life,” Officer Junior Clervil recalled.
Both the child and another man in the car were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Orlando Borrón, the child’s father, said it was his son’s birthday and they had just left his day care when he lost control of his car near Southwest 127th Avenue and 232nd Street.
Borrón said he was grateful for the good Samaritans who called the police and the rescuers’ heroic efforts.
The Miami-Dade Police Department released the video to showcase the importance of police in the community. The department then urged everyone to call 9-1-1 in emergencies and to trust that the police will do everything they can to help.
“This one’s different. As a father, when you hear a child is underwater in a vehicle and their parents can’t get them out, the first emotion that clicks in your head is go,” Walton shared.
The officers were later commended for their bravery. The child is doing well, and his father says he owes his and his son’s life to the Miami-Dade officers who responded.