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Good Samaritans and Police Rescue Couple From Sinking Car on Long Island

Police said Joseph Abitabile lost control while driving eastbound on Montauk Highway

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Bystanders helped rescue an elderly couple from a sinking car Monday after it careened into a Long Island canal, police said.

Seven people, including two police officers, jumped into the water to pull 78-year-old Joseph Abitabile to safety while rescue workers broke a window to free his wife, who was unconscious in the passenger seat.

“I saw the car is going slowly, slowly down. I said 'oh my god this guy…they’re gonna die. I have to do something.' Then I jumped in the water," said Mustafa Tosun, one of the bystanders who pulled Joseph from the driver's seat.

Another witness said the car was sinking halfway into the water and others were trying to break the window to get 76-year-old Delores Abitabile out.

An off-duty police officer performed CPR on the woman and was able to restore her pulse and breathing, police said.

The Abitabiles were taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

The daring rescue, captured on security video, happened around 12:10 p.m. near the Venetian Promenade and Montauk Highway in Lindenhurst.

The video shows the Abitabiles' 2004 Mercury crashing through a fence into the canal, followed by several people running to help as the car starts to submerge.

“I said, 'I don’t care I have to jump the water I don’t care I have to save this life I don’t care about my life right now,'" Tosun recalled.

Police said Joseph Abitabile lost control while driving eastbound on Montauk Highway when the couple's vehicle was struck by another car, a 2016 Subaru whose 85-year-old driver backed up into traffic after getting into a fender bender.

That man was also taken to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, along with several people involved in the rescue.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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