Former firefighter helps rescue children trapped in submerged truck

1:00 PM, Sep 25, 2013   |    comments
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Richard Aikman helped free a father and his two children from a submerged vehicle near Sawgrass Lake Elementary.


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St. Petersburg, Florida - It was a 5-car chain collision in the middle of a school zone near Sawgrass Lake Elementary School. Witnesses tell St. Petersburg police the driver of a gold vehicle may have suffered a medical issue, for unknown reasons, accelerating toward vehicles lined up in after school traffic.

"All I know is I heard a big crash, the typical crunching noise, then I heard a big splash," said former firefighter Richard Aikman, who lives right across the canal from the crash scene. He said the collision sent the gold car and another vehicle careening down the embankment into the water below.

"I was yelling, 'Is there anyone else in the truck?'" said Aikman, who jumped in to assist an injured father crawling out with one of his children. A second son was still trapped in his seatbelt, submerged under water, according to witnesses.

"He was completely blue," said Aikman. "He was non-responsive, not breathing and blue."

The driver of an after school program karate bus, also hit in the crash, preformed CPR on the unconscious child.

"The kid started crying right away, so it was a good sign," said Aikman with a smile. "The father is actually the one who cut the kid out, we got a knife to him. So the dad's the big hero today."

Police identified the two children involved as James and Jacob Wilson. Both were transported to Bayfront Medical Center and are expected to be okay. Children in the other vehicle also escaped injury, along with as many as 10 kids on the karate school bus.

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