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‘I think it’s tremendous that people, in this day and age, will help people out’

How do victims get rescued after a car crash?

The process of rescuing victims if they get trapped after a car crash can be difficult. This is how firefighters do it.
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The process of rescuing victims if they get trapped after a car crash can be difficult. This is how firefighters do it.

When a car crashed into the slough in Bow last week, a group of nearby residents sprung into action, potentially saving a life.

About 5:15 p.m. on May 8, a car driven by Maranda Biggart left the road near the corner of Bayview Edison Road and Farm to Market Road.

The car, occupied by Biggart and her two children, landed upside down in the water, feet from the home of Jake Schifferl and Elly Breckenridge-Schifferl.

The two, who happened to be in their driveway and about to leave, saw the overturned car with its wheels still spinning in the slough.

At that point, Schifferl rushed to the car, while Breckenridge-Schifferl called her father, Tony Breckenridge, then called 911.

Schifferl saw Biggart holding her infant daughter crying for help, and he took the infant so Biggart could try to rescue her toddler who was still in the back seat.

Breckenridge, a former Skagit County sheriff’s deputy who worked in search and rescue, said he arrived soon after, and helped Biggart search the back seat for her son.

“At that point, he’d been underwater for four or five minutes,” Breckenridge said. “He was unconscious, completely limp.”

Biggart retrieved the toddler from the back seat, and Breckenridge worked quickly to resuscitate him.

“Water was just gushing out of him,” he said. “All the sudden, he made a little gurgling noise … and you could hear a heartbeat.”

It took first responders about nine minutes to arrive, Breckenridge-Schifferl said. By then, everyone had been rescued from the vehicle, and the toddler was awake.

“If (Breckenridge-Schifferl) hadn’t seen it, and if (Schifferl) hadn’t run over there, I don’t know what would have happened,” Breckenridge said.

Biggart and the infant are doing well, and the toddler, who was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, is improving every day, a family member said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, according to Chad Clark, undersheriff with the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office.

John Leander, chief of Skagit County Fire District 5, said it’s thanks to the work of the three Bow residents that Biggart and her children were rescued nearly instantly.

“I really commend them for getting involved,” he said. “I think it’s tremendous that people, in this day and age, will help people out.”

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