BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – A Bluffton Police officer is being hailed a hero for pulling a woman free from a sinking car and rising waters.
Bluffton Police Ofc. Andrew Maisano and Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Staff Sgt. Jonathan Collier had just gotten on shift Tuesday night when they got a call involving an SUV that crashed into a pond.
When the officers arrived on Oliver Court, the driver of the car had already escaped the sinking vehicle, but the passenger, a woman, was still inside.
Maisano talked only to News 3 about the split-second decision he had to make.
“I actually went underwater and swam waist-deep into the vehicle,” said Bluffton Police Ofc. Andrew Maisano. “I couldn’t see anything because it was so dark already, I was feeling around I could feel her.
“I grabbed onto whatever I could find — I believe it was her shirt — and ended up dragging her out.”
Maisano was able to get the woman out to safety while Collier saved her husband.
The driver told police that he was distracted by a truck next to him when suddenly, he was headed straight for the pond. He said he hit the brakes, but crashed into the water.
Maisano credits his military training and desire to help for the successful rescue.
“I absolutely felt not only duty-bound but ethically bound to try and save someone’s life and no matter what the stakes I would do it again,” said Maisano.
“If I hadn’t gotten there in time and gone straight in I don’t know if she would have been alive today,” he added.
The woman was okay but was taken to the hospital with the driver as a precaution by EMS. Both Maisano and Collier were checked out by medics and are doing fine.
“Do you think you are a hero?” News 3 asked Maisano.
“I wouldn’t say I was a hero,” he said. “I think I just did the right thing in the right moment.”