Caught on video: Man rescues driver trapped in submerged car

A man went into New Orleans floodwaters Saturday, breaking into a submerged car and rescuing someone trapped inside. The man who did the rescue was a trained lifeguard.

NEW ORLEANS -- As the water rose in New Orleans Saturday, a group of people helping their neighbors witnessed a selfless act of bravery.

"We were helping people out that day," Perry Alexcee remembered

Alexcee is a mechanic who was helping people move disabled cars away from the flooded underpass near Franklin Ave and Abundance on Saturday.

"When we got over there, we found out the guy had just driven in the water," Alexcee said. 

He says it was a van, and it was fully submerged.  Witnesses called 911, but it looked like nothing could be done until first responders arrived. 

Then Greg Schmidt walked up to the group of bystanders. 

"At first they said do you see the bubbles?  And I didn't think anything of it.  I thought they were fooling me. And then I did see the bubbles!" Schmidt said.

He then borrowed a hammer from Sewerage and Water Board crews on the scene and walked in.  That's when Alexcee started recording video with his phone. What happened next stunned him.

"I broke the back window, and then I think he heard me because he reached out, I grabbed his hand and pulled him out," Schmidt said.

The driver thanked him immediately and told him shortly after that there was just a tiny pocket of air left before he was rescued. 

Greg Schmidt wasn't just any stranger trying to help.  He actually has 40 years of lifeguard experience under his belt. 

He said that he didn't do anything special though.

"That's what everyone should do; you should help your fellow man," Schmidt said.

But Alexcee says what he saw was a true act of bravery.

"He didn't know that guy at all, but he went in there and got him."

And it's proof to him that good people are out there. 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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