Elderly woman faces "weeks of recovery" after crashing into Portland Harbor

8:57 AM, Oct 2, 2012   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The 84-year old woman who crashed her car into Portland Harbor Friday afternoon is thanking those who jumped in to rescue her.

Ursula Nixon suffered a broken leg and a number of bruises in the crash and her family says she faces weeks of recovery before she can go home.

A number of by-standers jumped into the chilly ocean water to aid Nixon, who was trapped in her sinking car, but rescue crews say things could have been much worse, without the quick help of those in the area.

Nixon tells family members that she was parking her car on India street when she felt it jerk forward. Suddenly, she was barrelling down the street, through two chain link fences and a guardrail, and into Portland Harbor.

Police are investigating the car now for any malfunctions, but one thing's for sure, this story would have ended much differently had it not been for the quick action of witnesses.

Katie Nelson was one of those witnesses; she was grabbing lunch with a friend nearby when she saw the crash.

Two police officers were already in the area... They ran to the scene and dove into the shallow water - along with a few other civilians.

As they struggled to figure out the best way into the car, Nelson make a quick decision, climbed through the back window, grabbed Nixon, and had the guys pull her and Nixon out the back window -- just before the car sank below the water.

Portland's mayor, Michael Brennan, says, "We hope to, in the future, be able to recognize all the people involved in some public way because this truly was a heroic situation and there was a heroic response from portland citizens." He also recognizes how important is was that the fire department happened to be nearby working on training, and were able to respond quickly.


Ursula Nixon's family released a statement on Monday on her behalf: "(We) want to express our heartfelt thanks to the folks that risked their own personal safety to rescue the life of a complete stranger. Katie Nelson, Mike Wells, Chris Allen and the others showed incredible courage jumping into the harbor that day. We can only hope and pray that they know how forever grateful we are as a family that Ursula is alive today because of their heroics."

This is a story people will be talking about for a while, and while these so-called heroes probably wouldn't call themselves that, their actions on Friday helped ensure this story has a happy ending.


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