A couple in their 70s whose car crashed into a Lindenhurst canal Monday afternoon were rescued by five Good Samaritans and several cops who jumped in the water, Suffolk police said.
Dramatic surveillance footage posted to YouTube shows the rescuers dash toward, and into, the water in the moments after the Massapequa couple’s 2004 Mercury crashed through a fence and into the canal.
One of the rescuers, a mechanic at nearby A & M Motorsports, said he had been fixing a car when he heard the heard the crash, ran across the street and saw the vehicle sinking — its roof almost completely submerged.
"I jumped into water, I saved this guy’s life, I’m so happy, you know?" the mechanic, Mustafa Tosun, said in an interview. He added: "Another two seconds, maybe, he’s done."
The man was identified as Joseph Abitabile, 78, according to a Suffolk police news release. His wife, Delores, 76, was extricated soon afterward by the rescuers who broke the car window; she was unconscious but later resuscitated, the release said.
Moments earlier, at about 12:10 p.m., the drivers of a 2018 Ford pickup and a 2016 Subaru had been involved in a crash near Venetian Promenade and Montauk Highway. Soon afterward, the Subaru driver was backing his vehicle onto eastbound Montauk Highway when it was struck by the Mercury, driven by Joseph Abitabile, the release said.
In addition to the good Samaritans, the rescuers included off-duty Suffolk Officer John Tighe and on-duty Suffolk Officer Debra Gearon, the release said. Robert Russo, an off-duty Lake Success police officer, performed CPR on the woman and her pulse and breathing came back, according to the release.
"The Abitabiles, of Massapequa, one good Samaritan, the two Suffolk County Police officers, and the driver of the Subaru, Morris Kramer, 85, of Atlantic Beach, were transported to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Ford, Greg Destefano, was not injured," the release said.
"All those efforts saved their lives, no doubt," Said Insp. Kevin Kane, of Suffolk's First Precinct.
Asked whether he’s a hero, Tosun said no.
"I’m, like, I’m regular guy," Tosun said, adding: "When I saw this guy’s face, looks like it’s somebody’s father."