DAYTONA BEACH (CBSMiami) – An investigation is underway after a woman drove a minivan into the ocean off Daytona Beach on Tuesday with her three children inside.
It was a scary sight for beachgoers including Taylor Quintin who watched from his hotel balcony.
“My friend pointed out that there was a car getting really close to the beach and actually started driving on the water,” said Quintin. “I saw a kid in the back waving his arms around, screaming ‘help us, help us’ and the car kept going deeper.”
Quintin said two beachgoers and a life guard jumped into action to save the kids.
“She was pretty deep and the water was moving the van and the kids were screaming. I got the hatchback open and I started throwing her stuff out and he went into the passenger side and got in that way and he got the two kids out while she dove out the window, the driver’s window… just belly-flopped into the water,” said Tim Tesseneer.
Moments after pulling two children to safety, the men realized there was another child still in the vehicle.
“The kids are screaming, “there’s a baby, there’s a baby.” I get back to the van and by this time a couple of lifeguards have made it down there to us and come to find out there’s a baby still strapped in the seat but we got her,” said Tesseneer.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is looking into what led the woman to drive into the ocean.
People who watched it unfold, like Donna Pratt, said they can’t believe it was an accident.
“When she first was drifting into the ocean we thought maybe an accident. But when the bystanders went to help she clearly went deeper into the ocean, she drove right towards it, so it’s hard to believe it was an accident,” said Pratt.
The woman, who is from South Carolina, and her three children, ages 3, 9 and 10, were taken to an area hospital where they were treated for minor injuries.