Camera footage obtained by Action News shows the chaotic April 28 rescue after a female driver crashed off Freedom Pier.
Officer Sean Gartland, Officer John Bryszewski, and Detective Sergeant Carlos Depoder immediately jumped into action to save the woman.
Gartland was the first to enter.
“When I walk in, I start opening the doors and start checking, trying to find her,” Gartland recalled.
Next, Bryszewski and Depoder made the 10-foot drop into the water and started looking for them too.
“When I enter, I go to the front passenger door. First I check there. Then I check the rear door. It was in the dashboard area,” Depoder said.
The officers then pulled the woman onto a log and began performing CPR in the water.
“It was too tall for us to lift it out of the water and onto land. So, I think it was Agent Gartland, if I remember correctly, who said, ‘Let’s use the log,’” recalled Bryszewski.
“They held his body on the trunk, using the trunk, and I just did chest compressions,” Depoder said.
But there was no way to get it out.
“We couldn’t have got her up without some kind of intervention,” Gartland said.
They took one in the form of three good Samaritans on a boat.
Deptford’s Gene Blemings and his two colleagues were out on a barge to work.
“One of the guys saw the car go overboard and said, ‘Let’s go.’ We got on the boat, ”Blemings said.
Once there, Blemings told the officers that they were there to help in any way they could.
“I went halfway and helped her get her on the boat,” Blemings said.
One of her colleagues is a volunteer firefighter and took on resuscitation until they were able to take the woman to a nearby dock.
Officers say Blemings and his colleagues were a godsend.
“I jumped on the boat with them. I was burned from being in the water and holding it up,” said Bryszewski.
“Everyone was in the right place at the right time,” Gartland said.
As you’d expect, no one involved in the rescue thinks they’ve done anything extraordinary.
“I’m just glad she’s alive. I hope everything is fine for her, that’s all that matters to me,” Blemings said.
“I feel like we did our job. We did what we said we would do, what we swore we would do,” Depoder said.
The department says the woman is in critical condition but is slowly recovering.
Police say it is still unclear what prompted her to drive her off the fishermen’s dock.
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