Officer Joseph Rathnam wasted no time at the start of his shift on Saturday when a desperate resident in Port St. Lucie, Florida needed urgent assistance.
Rathnam recounted to WPBF the incident where a vehicle had crashed into a pond, leaving an 81-year-old man trapped inside. According to the outlet’s report on Monday, he and Officer Natalie Mastrangiola swiftly arrived at the scene on SW Oakner Street. They immediately shed their duty belts and ballistic vests, plunging into the water to rescue the victim.
Body camera footage captured the tense moments as the officers rushed to the scene and approached the white car.
A concerned onlooker informed an officer that the victim appeared shaken and confused.
Meanwhile, resident Norberto Garcia was in his car with his family nearby and took it upon himself to join the rescue efforts. He mentioned that the man trapped in the car was frantically banging on the window.
Although Garcia’s children initially hesitated to let him enter the water due to concerns about alligators, Garcia’s instincts led him to act. He remarked, “I didn’t even think about gators or anything, it was just pure instinct. Today, they’re calling me a hero.”