Driver rescued after plunging into Intracoastal in Hillsboro Beach

POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida man came to a woman’s rescue after, police said, she lost control of her car and plunged into the Intracoastal Waterway in Broward County, Thursday afternoon.

Police responded to the scene of the accident about a half mile north of the A1A Bridge, over the Hillsboro Inlet. The victim, a woman in her 30s, told police she swerved her luxury sedan to miss something on the road and ended up in the Intracoastal Waterway, about 20 feet away from the roadway.

Margate resident Robert McLee told 7News he was driving over the Hillsboro Inlet Bridge with his girlfriend when he spotted the victim’s vehicle in the water. He said he had opted against remaining indoors as Hurricane Matthew approached the state. “We were just these little crazy kids, where we just wanted to drive around and see how the weather was holding up,” he said.

Robert McLee
Robert McLee

Cellphone video shot by his girlfriend shows the good Samaritan pulling over as he told her to call 911. “The tail end was up; the front end was kind of like submerged underwater,” he said.

McLee said the car was floating and moving with the tide. “I grabbed onto the handle, pulled the handle to the car. She was unconscious,” he said. “I was laying on the dock with my hand on the vehicle, banging on it with my left hand, telling her to get out of the vehicle.”

The driver regained consciousness when McLee began banging on the window. “She actually rolled out her driver’s side window and put her hands up, and that’s when she was crawling out,” said McLee. “That’s when I grabbed onto her hand, and then she started crawling on top of the vehicle to get to me, and then I pulled her on top of the dock.”

The woman told McLee she had just come from surfing when she had the accident.

Rescue divers arrived at the scene and went into the water to make sure no one else was in the car.

7News cameras captured the vehicle almost fully submerged, about 20 feet from the seawall.

The driver was not injured. Her husband later came to take her home.


McLee, who has a background in emergency medical services and nursing, said he doesn’t consider himself a hero and was just glad to be in the right place, at the right time to be able to lend a helping hand. “Thank God it was right then and there. There was no one else on the street when I was pulling by,” he said. “God works in mysterious ways. It all happens for a reason.”

It is unclear how long the driver was floating in the Intracoastal before McLee spotted her car. Thursday happened to be her birthday.

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