Rescuers smash window to save woman from sinking BMW

Two police officers who dragged a 63-year-old woman from her sinking car at an Auckland wharf believe she was about a minute away from drowning.

North Shore-based constables Paul Watts and Simon Russell were called to Fisherman's Wharf at Northcote Point about 3.15pm when a BMW car rolled into the water.

The pair arrived to find the car, which had one woman in it, about three-quarters submerged in water.

Two members of the public - including Glenfield fisherman Erwin Kampos - were trying desperately to hold it up.

Area Commander North Shore police Inspector Shanan Gray said the woman trapped inside the car was distraught and has clambered into the back seat where an air pocket was.

"When we entered the water, I was talking to one of the (members of the public) who wad trying to balance the vehicle and he said he was looking for a rock to try and smash the window," Mr Russell said.

"I tried my baton which failed and then I tried looking on the ocean floor and when I went down I actually cut my hand."

While Mr Russell managed to break the driver door window with a spanner her found, Mr Watts smashed the car's rear windscreen with a large rock.

"At that time the car actually started to move very fast into the water. I was trying to hold the car, slowing it down from entering the water," Mr Russell said.

Once Mr Watts cleared some of the glass at the rear end of the car, Mr Russell ran around to help him drag the woman from the car.

"She was quite distressed," Mr Watts said.

"It was pretty close, probably 30 or 40 seconds after we managed to get the female out of the car, the car was already slipping further into the water.

"I'd say she'd probably only had maximum probably another minute, minute-and-a-half if she hadn't got out," Mr Watts said.

The woman was taken to North Shore Hospital. Mr Gray said she did not suffer any injuries and was in a stable condition.

The circumstances leading to the car ending up in the water are being investigated.

Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell

- NZ Herald

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