(WSVN) - A South Florida woman thanked the first responders who pulled her to safety after a crash into dangerous waters.

Nieves Matos was critically injured in a crash back in May. Sadly, her son did not survive.

Months later, she met with the men and women who came to their rescue, a memorable moment not only for Matos but for the first responders themselves.

Eighty-year-old Matos said she will never forget the faces of the first responders who saved her life.

“Their faces, I’ll never forget,” said Matos in Spanish, referring to the first Miami-Dade Police officers on the scene to Miami-Dade firefighters who helped get her to the hospital.

“It’s just a blessing to see her here today and being able to speak with her,” said Miami-Dade firefighter Joseph Pujol.

On May 27, she and her son Mario Laza were in a minivan headed southbound on the Florida Turnpike when, police said, Laza lost control while trying to exit the ramp near Southwest Eighth Street.

The vehicle overturned and went into an alligator-infested retention pond.

Divers, protected by police snipers, managed to pull Matos and her son out to safety.

They were taken to HCA Florida Hospital where Laza later died.

Months later, she was able to share a warm and memorable embrace, something Pujol, who helped transport Matos to the hospital, says he has never experienced until now.

“I’ve never been able to meet any of the patients after the incident,” said Pujol. “To know she is alive and doing well is a blessing and just makes me feel everything I’m doing is worth it.”

Matos said she will forever be grateful to those who saved her life.

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