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PALM BAY, Fla. --
Two patrol officers are being credited with saving the life of a man who accidentally drove his vehicle into a lake near his Palm Bay home.
The security guard at the entrance to Holiday Park called to report seeing a vehicle partially submerged in the lake at about 7:45 a.m. Sunday.
Officer Robert Meehan arrived at the scene within one minute and immediately jumped into the lake where the vehicle was almost completely submerged.
Meehan broke the rear window of the vehicle, where he saw at least one person inside.
Officer Sam Ivey then arrived at the scene and jumped into the water to assist.
During this time, police said, the victim -- identified as 75-year-old Arcelio Maas -- was within just a few inches of being completely submerged and unable to breathe.
"He was under water for a couple of minutes," Ivey said of Maas.
The two officers made several attempts to free Maas, whose feet appeared to be entangled in the brake pedal. Now completely submerged, with zero visibility under water and without air packs, Meehan and Ivey worked together to free Maas.
"The driver had already got his face up as close to the roof of the car as he could and was still trying to breathe," Ivey said. "We couldn't get him out of the passenger seat."
While submerged inside the vehicle, Meehan grabbed the man from the top as Ivey was underwater pulling his feet and legs out until he was free.
"We had to go under the water to get his feet free from the brake pedal, and that's how we were finally able to get him out," Ivey said.
Once brought to the surface, fire rescue personnel provided Maas with oxygen and he was taken to a local hospital in stable condition.
"These officers did an outstanding job," said Sgt. Don Smith. "They did not hesitate to do what was necessary in order to save this man's life, and because of that, he's alive today."
For Ivey, it was the second underwater rescue attempt in the last two months. In July, Ivey jumped into a canal in an attempt to rescue victims from a submerged vehicle. Two of three victims were rescued in that case.

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Super Moderator
5,852 Posts
Absolutely, outstanding work. I woulda been looking over my shoulder for gators the whole time!
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