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EXCLUSIVE: Humble Good Samaritan Speaks About Rescue Attempt In Schuylkill River

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By Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A car plunges into the Schuylkill River, and police say two Good Samaritans risked their own lives to help.

In an Eyewitness News Exclusive, one of the men talked about how he rushed into the frigid waters and what happened next.

The river crash happened on Kelly Drive near Boat House Row Tuesday afternoon.

“When I looked over, the backend of the car was already in the water. There wasn’t a lot of hesitation to jump in. The gentleman that did jump in first did a heck of a lot more than I did,” the Good Samaritan, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

“By the time he had gotten to the car, he had a mallet, and he broke the window, but the car was going down really quickly. Once I was trying to dive down to the car, I just couldn’t get a deep enough breath to stay down there because it was really really cold,” he described.

At this time, police say they don’t know what caused the 73-year-old driver to lose control.

Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan said, “It locked up, went sideways, flipped over a couple times then entered the river.”

Officer Anthony Kowalski is one of the divers who went into the river, and he recalled “it being down into the muck, the tops of the doors, you have to push all that muck out of the way, it’s kind of hard.”

Divers did eventually pull the driver out of the water but he could not be revived, much to the dismay of those who tried to help and are being hailed as heroes.

“I wouldn’t call myself anything other than just really disappointed we weren’t able to get him.”

The other Good Samaritan declined to comment, but police sources say he, too, expressed to officers that he wished he could have done more.

His wife explained to Eyewitness News that because he is a plumber, he had a hammer handy. The father of four was treated for cuts and released after getting stitches.

Police say the crash remains under investigation, and as of late Tuesday night, police say they cannot release the victim’s name, as his family had not yet been notified.

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