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Deputies rescue man trapped in car underwater for 24 minutes

The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department says it’s a miracle a Mandan man is alive after his...
The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department says it’s a miracle a Mandan man is alive after his car was submerged under water for more than 20 minutes.(Station)
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 1:18 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department says it’s a miracle a Mandan man is alive after his car was submerged under water for more than 20 minutes.

The April 11th rescue was a memorable one for the swift water dive and rescue team; as the victim was the first survivor off all recoveries they have done in five years.

Burleigh County deputies say the 21-year-old victim was traveling at high speeds over the bridge near Fox Island, when his car went airborne.

The car landed upside down in a nearby pond, where the victim was trapped for 24 minutes before he was rescued.

Scuffs in the pavement still remain from the night deputies and a 21-year-old got lucky.

“There’s a lot of things that just kind of lined up that evening which allowed us to make a rescue,” said dive team leader Troy Fleck.

An on patrol diver happened to have his equipment nearby, saving at least 10 minutes.

“I was near my residence at the time. I had all my diving equipment for the county set up and prepared,” said Sergeant Jeremy Alm.

A tow truck in the area, saw the crash and self-responded, another key that saved precious minutes.

“You’re looking at probably, on a quick response, you’re looking at probably 30 to 45 minutes,” said Fleck.

Water visibility was zero.

“I could not locate a way to open the door, I popped up to the surface real quick and just motioned to start pulling the vehicle out and as that happened then the vehicle rolled under water to where I could get the door open,” said Sgt. Alm.

After 24 minutes underwater, the victim was rescued.

“It wasn’t the outcome that I expected. Emergency rooms doctors did not expect him to survive that night. It’s just one of those things,” said Sgt. Alm.

In five years, the dive and rescue team has performed 26 recoveries. This was the first time a victim survived.

“It’s positive affirmation that all of the training that we do is working  and is going to a good cause,” said Fleck.

Sergeant Alm said the victim is out of the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

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