CCSO helicopter pilot saves family from submerged car in the Everglades

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- A Collier County Sheriff’s helicopter pilot pulled a family from their partially submerged car when they got lost in Picayune Strand State Forest after their GPS took them down the wrong road.

According to the 911 call, the mother huddled in the backseat of her car with her 2-month-old daughter and 7-year-old son.

“My mom thought she could make it and she drove through the water and fell through this pot hole,” said 7-year-old Xander Hackman who was rescued along with his baby sister and mom.

Deputies immediately began searching the winding, dark, flooded roads of the forest but they couldn’t locate the family.

Once authorities found the vehicle, the pilots were able to land the helicopter in the swampy water and one walked through knee-deep water to the family in the car.

“Yes, I was scared,” said Xander. “Then the helicopter saved us.”

The Collier County Sheriff’s Agriculture unit drove out to meet the family at the helicopter and transported them home.

Xander says he wants to write a book about his terrifying moments in the wild but until then, he wants to thank the pilot who jumped in the water to help his family.