Good Samaritans and Florida Firefighters Dive to Rescue Victims of Crash

Good Samaritans and Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue A-Shift crews jumped into action on the afternoon of Sunday, July 20th.

A tractor-trailer left the roadway and plunged into a canal along the Florida Turnpike. The accident, in the northbound lanes north of the Lantana toll plaza, claimed the life of the driver and critically injured his wife.

Firefighters from Engine 34 arrived first to find civilians in the water, some in dive gear, rescuing the first victim.

Engine 23 arrived soon after and deployed divers in snorkel gear.

Rescue 32 came in and began reviving the victim who was later transported to a local hospital via Palm Beach County Health-Care District's TraumaHawk helicopter.

Special Operations 31's team arrived shortly after the first victim was removed and deployed Fire-Medic Tony Acosta and backup diver Jeff Strom while other team members assisted on shore.

The firefighter and lieutenant of Engine 23 assisted the diver in the water as he entered the crushed and submerged cab to rescue the driver. He was brought to shore where he was pronounced dead.

Both the civilian rescuers and firefighters who entered the water were hosed down by Engine 34 after they emerged from the murky canal.

Special Operations team-members placed containment booms north of the accident in order to stop the flow of diesel fuel leaking from the truck.

After rescue of the victims, entrance was made to the trailer to assure that there were no damaged hazardous products spilled inside. It was found to contain only live flowers.

Numerous units worked together including Engines 34, 23, Rescue-Engines 31, 32, Rescue 32, Rescue 34, Rescue 31, Special Operations 31, TraumaHawk, an EMS Supervisor, District Chiefs 3, 9, and Battalion Chief 3 as the safety officer.

Traffic was slowed for several hours as the accident was investigated and cleared.