The fire chief in Oromocto, N.B., says another 12 inches of water could have spelled tragedy for three people and two dogs involved in a car accident early Friday morning.
One man and the dogs, two golden retrievers, had to be rescued from the small car that had overturned in a ditch on the Wilsey Road in Rusagonis at 1:30 a.m. Two others were able to get out of the wrecked vehicle and get help..
Fire Chief Jody Price said because of the recent rain, the ditch was full of water.
"The car was basically submerged in two to three feet of water."
Price said firefighters who arrived on scene set to work with the Jaws of Life to get the trapped human and canine occupants out.
"They had a space of about a one to one-and-half feet of air left that they could get their heads up in there to breathe. The rest of the car was full of water because it was upside down."
Standing in water in some places up to their waists, firefighters pried open the back door, got the dogs out and put them in the fire truck to stay warm. Price says they then got the front door open and were able to pull the man to safety.
RCMP and Ambulance New Brunswick assisted as well.
All three people were taken the hospital suffering from hypothermia after being in the cold water. Price said the firemen dropped the dogs off at the owner's house on their way back to the fire station.
"At the end of the day basically if there'd been another foot of water in that ditch they probably could have drowned," he said. "If they hadn't been able to get out of the car and call 911 they could have died of hypothermia. The extent of the damage to the car, they could have died in the crash.
"There's a number of things that could have made the outcome much worse but as it turned out it was a successful rescue and we got everybody out, including the dogs."