'Heroic' car crash witness saves toddler who was ejected into Maryland bay
A witness to a multi-vehicle car crash in Maryland on Sunday is celebrated as a hero after rescuing a toddler whose car seat was dumped in a cove near Ocean City.
The accident with five cars occurred shortly before 3 p.m. on a bridge over Assawoman Bay, the city fire department said in a statement.
The 2-year-old girl was thrown from a pickup truck that "swayed" over a guardrail, the department said.
"A heroic witness jumped from the bridge into the bay and saved the child," city officials said in a statement.
The girl was flown to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where she was in stable condition.
It is not clear what caused the accident that left seven other people injured.
The witness asked to remain anonymous, officials said.
Joe Oertel and his family were in the same boat when his daughter Alayna noticed the accident, they told NBC's "TODAY" show.
She said she remembered thinking, "There must be someone in the water because there is no way anyone has fallen out of the car."
Joe Oertel wrote on Facebook that his wife saw that there was indeed someone in the water, and as they got closer, they discovered that it was a man with a toddler in hand.
"We got them on board within minutes of landing in the bay," he wrote.
Then they ran ashore to the paramedics.
"After everyone was sure, we zoomed in there as quickly as possible," said Alayna Oertel on "TODAY".
"The hero who jumped probably didn't know that the bay is only 4 to 5 inches deep in this area," Joe Oertel said on Facebook.
When the good Samaritan got into the boat with the girl, "he was in an enormous shock," added Joe on "TODAY".
"It says a lot about some people's behavior to just do the right thing when you have to," he said. "When the chips are down, people will come together to make the right decisions."
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