Man rescued after driving car into Puget Sound

BREMERTON, Wash. - An 88-year-old man was rescued Thursday morning after he drove his car down a Bremerton street, through a park and into the waters of Puget Sound, police said.

Two employees of a local marine manufacturer, Jon Watkins and Jenson Charnell, happened to be testing a boat in the vicinity at the time. They saw the car go into the water and headed toward it.

At the same a Bremerton police officer and a firefighter, John Bogen and Alex Magallon, arrived at the scene and swam out to the car.

All four worked together to rescue the man from the car, which was submerged in 10 feet of water about 30 feet from shore.

Firefighter Magallon used an ax to break the window on the car. Watkins and Charnell assisted in cutting the seat belt, and the four rescuers pulled the man from the driver's seat and got him to shore, where they began CPR.

Bremerton Police Lt. Pete Fisher arrived, and he and Magallon swam back out to the car to check for additional passengers. None were found.

The man was taken by ambulance to Harrison Hospital, where he was joined by his wife and is in the intensive care unit. Magallon sustained cuts during the rescue and is also being treated at Harrison Hospital, said Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan.

The car was towed from the water with the assistance of the Suquamish Tribal Police Dive Team and the Bainbridge Island Police Marine Unit.

"This man is still alive because of the quick action and heroism shown this morning by Bremerton firefighters, police officers and (the two) employees," Strachan said.

A preliminary investigation found that the car was heading south on Trenton Avenue but failed to stop when it reached the end of the roadway. It kept going through a small shoreline park, plowed through bushes and out into water.

A medical emergency is believed to be the cause of the accident.