CAPE CORAL, Fla.-A dramatic rescue in a Cape Coral canal Friday. An SUV plunged into the water and started sinking. A police officer responding to the call jumped into the canal to save the driver.
Officer Stephen Burkhart didn't think twice about jumping into ten feet of water to save a man trapped inside the Jeep Laredo. He says knew he only had seconds before it filled with water and the man inside suffocated. "When I got there the driver was in about chest deep water inside of the vehicle," he said.
Officer Stephen Berkhart says the man inside the jeep filling with water "seemed kind of panicked, just shocked that his vehicle was in the water."
For some reason the Jeep plunged over the embankment and into the canal off Diplomat Parkway and NW 9th AVE.
Bystanders jumped into the water to get him out. That's when officer Burkhart arrived on scene and took matters into his own hands.
He says water was rapidly filling the jeep. The man inside was so afraid, he says, he wouldn't open the door. So officer Berkhart broke the glass of a window using his baton
"The roofline of the vehicle went below water and I stuck my hand in, and I grabbed the front of his shirt and just pulled as hard as I could and thank God he came out," he said.
After an ambulance took the man to the hospital, a diver went in the water to help tow the car out of the canal. As for officer burkhart, he says he's not a hero, and was simply doing his job. "I think any officer would have done the same thing I would have done, or that I did," he said.
Officer Burkhart has been with the department since 2009. He's had to jump in a canal before, and that was to arrest someone!
At this time we don't know who the man is, or why he plunged into that canal.
The incident is under investigation.