Video Shows Paragliding Hero Rescuing Woman "Holding for Her Life" in Submerged Car
He was “at the right place at the right time.”
Dramatic Instagram video shows how a man who was paragliding over a Florida canal discovered and rescued a woman who had plunged into the water along with her car. The incident happened on Oct. 30. Local realtor Cristiano Piquet and a friend were flying in paramotoring vehicles to check out a property before church.
During their flight, Piquet spotted a woman in the canal "holding for her life" along with a submerged car. He made an emergency landing. The video shows the woman screaming for help. "Oh my God, I fell with my car in here," she says. Read on to find out what happened.
Piquet was flying a paramotor, a personal flying machine consisting of a paraglider and an engine-powered propeller strapped to the pilot, and wearing a GoPro camera. He spotted an alligator splashing in a canal and flew closer to take a look.
"I turn around to get a better shot with my GoPro, and I see a car in the canal, in the same canal," he told WSVN, "and I flew closer to the car, and I saw someone inside the car, like, asking for help." Keep reading to see the video.
Piquet made a difficult landing—there were power lines in the area—and after disconnecting the parachute and propeller from his body, he ran over to the woman. At the same time, he spotted a neighbor on the other side of the canal and called for his help.
"We threw her a rope, and she was free, she was alive," said Piquet. "Everything happened so fast, and after we got her to safety, we called 911." In the video, the woman is seen hugging her rescuer. Miami-Dade first responders took the woman to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, WSVN reported.
"Mission accomplished," Piquet says in his caption for the Instagram video. He told the Miami Herald he was happy to miss church to help the distressed woman. "For some reason, I was better suited being there at the right place and the right time," he said.
Although his camera captured the incident as it happened, he didn't have the whole story. "I wish I would know more about why she was there," he said. So how did the woman end up in the canal? She told reporters shortly after the incident.
On Tuesday, Marcia Fuste, 64, told NBC Miami that she was grateful to be alive after driving her car into the canal and spending several hours fighting to keep her head above water. Fuste said she was exhausted from a trip she had taken to Fort Lauderdale earlier in the day and didn't realize she missed a turn until she was "in the middle of nowhere." She hit a dirt road that she hoped would lead to a paved street. Instead, it led to the canal.
"There was a big canal, and I slid right down into it. Thank God the [car] window was open on my side, and I crawled out, really quick," said Fuste. She said she fought to keep her head above water until Piquet found her.
This wasn't the only dramatic water rescue caught on camera in Florida in recent months. Hurricane Ian's landfall in late September produced a number of similarly dramatic moments. For example, a local reported saved a woman who had unwittingly driven her car into rising floodwaters.
WESH reporter Tony Atkins helped the woman, a nurse, out of her car. He held her purse as he carried her on his back out of the rushing water. "I'm just glad she…got to work safe," he told viewers.