A woman died after driving into a southside pond Thursday morning, and Greenwood firefighters had gone into the water to try to rescue her.
Two members of the Greenwood Fire Department Dive Team went into the water with divers from the Indianapolis Fire Department. The Greenwood firefighters got the woman out of the vehicle and brought her to the surface of the water, but she had been under water for more than an hour, according to a news release from the Indianapolis Fire Department.
The car went into the pond at East Thompson and Five Points roads just after 10 a.m., and three fire department dive teams were called to help. Witnesses said the woman was slumped over the wheel of her vehicle before going through the roundabout at the intersection.
The fire departments are praising the witnesses who stayed on the scene because their information helped divers find the vehicle within minutes of getting into the water, the news release said.
“We can’t thank the witnesses enough for staying and helping us to locate the victim,” Indianapolis Fire Department Battalion Chief Rita Reith said in the news release.
“We all certainly hoped for a better outcome and the divers gave it all on this run.”
On Thursday afternoon, crews stopped trying to pull the vehicle from the water due to difficult and dangerous conditions, but will try again today, Reith said.
The Greenwood Dive Rescue put into practice on Thursday a new system, which houses the dive team and all its equipment at one station, Assistant Chief Brad Coy said. At least three, but as many as five, divers are on-duty 24 hours a day in Greenwood to respond to water rescue calls in the city or to help neighboring communities, such as the team did on Thursday, Coy said. The change to stationing all team members and equipment at Station 91 went into effect at the beginning of the year, he said.
Coy praised the divers who went under water for the risky jobs they do, but also the support team who work a rope system on the bank to pull the divers out when needed or read their communication via the rope system, he said.
Divers are checked after such emergencies for injuries, and also due to toll of bringing a deceased person from the water, Coy said.
The team trains once per month in the Greenwood Community High School pool during the winter, and trains in retention ponds when the weather permits. Other firefighters are also trained four times each year on how to pinpoint where a vehicle went into the water, for example.
“It’s always a team effort,” Coy said.