(KOBI) — A California man survived inside a car for nearly five hours after he crashed into the Klamath River Wednesday morning.
His incredible story of survival stunned those on scene, including a dive team commander who helped pull his car from the water saving his life.
“He opened his door…and the guy looked at him and told him ‘help me’ and my deputy goes oh my lord, there’s somebody alive,” said Sgt. Robert Giannini of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.
Giannini, Dive Team Commander of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, was one of the first to arrive.
“I was able to keep my head above water to get to the vehicle,” he says.
He says he dove into the water, got on the undercarriage of the car, and connected a cord to the axel.
“It was very cold and I was only in for a few seconds,” he says. “I couldn’t imagine being in for five hours.”
A tow truck then lifted the car up to the road. He says airbags were blocking the windows, so they couldn’t see anyone inside.
“It was a deputy that opened that door,” he said. “And as soon as he opened the door and moved that curtain, he saw the guy just look at him, turn his head and looked at him and saw that he was alive and started calling for help.”
The driver, 28-year-old Michael Finn, told first responders he thinks he crashed into the water sometime around 3:00 in the morning and survived by breathing from an air pocket inside his car.
Sergeant Giannini says his incredible story of survival came as a shock to everyone.
“I believe he just had the will to survive,” he said. “And people always say that the more that you believe you can survive… the better chance you have.”
The hospital says Finn was discharged on Thursday.