ST. PETERSBURG -- A father and a former firefighter rescued two children from a car that was overturned in a northeast St. Petersburg canal Tuesday afternoon, police said.
According to St. Petersburg police, a chain-reaction crash at 1735 77th Avenue North outside Sawgrass Elementary School sent a sport utility vehicle and car into the water. The car, with two children and their dad inside, overturned in the water.
Richard Aikman, a former firefighter told officials the dad got one of the kids out of the car and he cut the other out of his seatbelt. He also said the child's face had turned blue.
"The seat-belt was actually holding him in. So we had to get a knife from the neighbor over across the street. He threw us a knife to cut him out," said Aikman.
One child was unconscious and required CPR, but preliminary information indicated the child began breathing on his or her own and was rushed to a hospital as a trauma alert, police said.
A witness said one or more garbage collection workers were part of the rescue effort.
"I saw parents screaming, 'no, no, no,' and kids crying," witness Heather Gagolia said. "I saw some garbage men, some different people in different vehicles, helping out. But I definitely saw garbage men helping out."
Both children were transported to the hospital and are expected to make a full recovery.
Police say the driver of a gold Tahoe caused the five vehicle chain reaction by suddenly accelerating into the silver car first.
Police believe the Tahoe driver may have suffered from some sort of medical condition at the time.
A pickup truck and jeep were involved in the accident but did not end up in the water.