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Woman rescued after car plunges into Portland Harbor

Quick reaction time from a group of passersby and emergency personnel kept an incident where a woman accidentally drove into Portland Harbor from ending in tragedy.9-29-accident-2
An 84-year-old Portland woman — whose name hasn't been released — lost control of her car driving down India Street Friday afternoon and went careening into the water. She was pulled from the car by a group of Good Samaritans and emergency personnel who jumped into the bay to help her. The driver was taken to the hospital and treated for injuries she suffered during the crash.
Just before 1:30 p.m. Friday, the woman was driving south on India Street when something caused her to lose control of her car, according to Portland Police Commander Gary Rogers, and she wound up blowing through the stop sign, running through two fences and driving into the water.
Rogers said the woman didn't hit any other vehicles or objects after losing control of the car.
Rogers said police are still investigating what might have led the woman to lose to control of her vehicle and are unsure if it was a mechanical failure or a medical issue.
"At this point we don't know," Rogers said.
Just as the accident happened, Lt. Robert Slaving said the fire department was training a short distance from the site and responded within 30 seconds. He said the rescue squad was able to get in the water quickly and help get the driver the rest of the way out of the car and back onto the land.
Slaving said without the efforts of the emergency personnel and Good Samaritans, the accident might not have ended with a positive result.
"It might have been a different outcome," he said.
Mike Wells was on break from his job at Auto Europe when he heard a loud crash and saw a car barreling into the water.
"I just decided to run over here and do what I could to help," he said.
Wells was among a group of four or five people who were at the scene during the accident and jumped into the water to help the woman get out of the car.
Wells said a woman — whose name he didn't catch — helped pull the driver out of the car through the rear window.
Once the woman was out of the water, Wells said, she was concerned that she hit someone or another car before driving into the water. He said everyone else was just trying to make sure she was OK.
"It was really just about her at that moment," he said.
Wells said the woman thought she felt the accelerator get stuck.
Wells said diving into the cold waters of Portland Harbor isn't something he'd normally have done but under the circumstances, he just did what anyone else would have done.

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