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First responders offer safety tips for surviving a submerged vehicle

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- First responders are encouraging drivers to have a plan in place in case your car ends up submerged in water.

On New Year’s Eve, the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) responded to several 911 calls from the Sundance Apartment complex reporting a car sinking into an icy retention pond. Authorities say one of the calls was from the driver, who repeatedly told dispatchers, “It’s coming,” “It’s filling up,” and “It’s cold.”

When divers arrived, the vehicle was 20 feet from the shore and 12 feet down.

“The quick call for 911 gets us started, it gets the professionals en route to hopefully make a difference,” said Kevin Jones, IFD Special Operations Chief.

Tire marks show the 150-yard path the driver left across the frozen pond before falling through the ice.  Drivers ended up having to bust the sunroof to pull her out.

“If your car is ever ends up in the water like that what are you going to do?” asked Jones.

First responders are reminding drivers to have a plan in place that starts with unbuckling your seatbelt.

“If you roll that window down and you don’t have your seatbelt undone, all that water is going to rush in and be so cold it’s going to take your breath away and put you in shock,” said Jones.

Jones advices drivers to open your vehicle door and roll down the window before the pressure becomes too much.  If it’s too late, you’ll have to try to bust out the window.

“Be resourceful. If you have an ice scraper anything hard to break that window out,” said Jones.

Once you escape, climb on top of your vehicle.

“In that situation, you’ve got to do whatever you can to get yourself out of that situation to give yourself the best chance to survival,” said Jones.

Investigators still aren’t sure the reason behind how this driver ended up on the frozen pond.  The weather conditions are still too dangerous for crews to retrieve her vehicle.

“We’re just thankful that we had the chance to make a difference hopefully and we’re hoping for a good outcome,” said Jones.

Officials have not yet released the name of the victim. At last check she was in critical condition.