3-year-old rescued from car in canal, released from hospital

DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A toddler who was inside a car when it plunged into a South Florida canal finally headed to her West Palm Beach home, Wednesday, and is on the road to recovery.

Three-year-old Aubrey Herndon arrived to her grandparents’ house, at around 4 p.m. “It’s absolutely — it’s a miracle that she’s here today,” said her grandfather, Henry Hutchinson.

Herndon was a passenger in the car that went off road and into a canal, along Interstate 95 and Southwest 10th Street, in Deerfield Beach, Dec. 23. That accident claimed the life of her mother, Cynthia Hutchinson.

According to officials, Herndon was trapped underwater in her mother’s car for about four to five minutes. Several drivers who were nearby jumped in to help and pulled her from the water.

Cellphone video captured passers-by rushing into the canal to help. “Without them, it would be difficult, for sure, without a question,” said Vicki Hutchinson, Herndon’s grandmother. “We owe our lives to them.”

Herndon’s father was also in the sinking car, but was able to get out.

Firefighters immediately began to perform CPR on the child and her mother.

Aubrey was transported to Broward Health Medical Center. She was left in a coma, but she emerged from it four days.

The toddler stayed at the hospital for 12 days. “She got better and better every day,” said Henry.

7News cameras captured Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue’s Brian Baker carrying Herndon out of Broward Health Medical Center, Wednesday, and put in the back row of her family’s SUV, on a car seat donated by the rescue crews who responded to the scene.

“It was good to see her the way she was. I tell you, it’s an absolute miracle what happened,” said Baker. “I can’t explain it any other way. It’s an absolute miracle … I’m emotional and relieved.”

The victim’s family is also thankful for those who put their life on the line. “And I, too, want to thank all of you that helped in this rescue because it was a miracle,” said Vicki as she held back tears.

Officials said it is a miracle that Herndon spent so much time underwater and was still able to recover.

Family members said Herndon hasn’t asked about her mom, but they said, when the time comes, they will tell her the truth.

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