2 Rowing Coaches at Northeastern University Rescue Man When His Car Plunges Into Charles River

Cambridge Fire Department during rescue after car plunges in Charles River.
Cambridge Fire Department

The 23-year-old man, who sustained minor injuries, had no memory of the accident, and even asked the coaches what had happened, according to a report. 

A 23-year-old man whose car plunged into the Charles River was rescued by two quick-thinking rowing coaches from Northeastern University who happened to be in the water conducting a late-night rowing practice, according to a published report.

The incident happened on Monday night just before 7:40 p.m. on Flagg Street and Memorial Drive in Cambridge, located on the Charles River, according to the Cambridge Fire Department.

Police did not disclose the man’s identity but said he suffered a medical episode before driving his vehicle off the bridge into the river, CBS affiliate WPRI reported.

Trevor Appier, an assistant coach at the private university, and Beatrice Sims, an assistant volunteer coach, were in a motorboat about 10 feet away conducting a late-night practice with the men’s row team and witnessed the accident. As the car began to sink, the coaches threw the man a life-vest and were able to pull him onto their boat before calling 911, according to CBS Boston affiliate, WBZ -TV.

By the time Cambridge Police, Cambridge Fire, Cambridge EMS and the Massachusetts State Police arrived, the man had already been rescued, a report said.

Describing the rescue mission Sims said, “you’re sort of in shock when it happens.” 

“Being able to react appropriately in a situation like that is something that we do train for and we do prepare for because you never know what is going to happen out there on the water,” she said. 

Appier added, "If we had not been passing by and he had not known how to swim, potentially, I don't know that that could have gone as smoothly maybe as it did.”

Witnesses at a nearby bike path told WPRI that the driver rolled down his window and was waving his hand out for help before his vehicle drove into the river, People reported.

The car was submerged in the water for approximately two hours, before divers and the firefighter removed the vehicle.

The man was transported to Boston Hospital and sustained minor injuries. It was reported that he even asked the coaches what had happened as he had no memory of the accident, WPRI reported. 

The president of the Northeastern University sent out a tweet commending Appier and Sims. “What started as a routine late-night rowing practice turned into a rescue mission by two courageous @gonumrowing coaches,” he said. “Thank you for your quick thinking and brave actions.”

Once everyone was okay, Appier told News@Northeastern they resumed their training session.

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