80-year-old California man saves driver from sinking car

by Peter Heck · Oct 12th, 2020 10:29 am
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Last Updated Oct 13th, 2020 at 10:20 am

An 80-year-old man in California rescued a man whose car was sinking in a canal last Thursday.

Steve Montelongo, 80, had been returning home from taking his granddaughter to the dentist when his granddaughter shouted at him that a car had just driven into a nearby canal. The elderly man put his own car in park and ran to the scene of the accident.

He and about 20 others had gathered around when Montelongo noticed the man was still in the sinking car.

"I guess it's up to me," he said he thought before jumping into the water.

"The first thing that came to my mind is: 'I hope one of the doors was open, right?'" Montelongo said. "And the back door was open. When I opened the door, it gushed in and it pulled me, it actually pulled me towards the car and I fell back against the car and I tried to get my balance, still with my sight on the man, making sure he wouldn't go under."

The driver of the vehicle was alert and conscious as Montelongo pulled him to safety.

Back in 2003, Montelongo received the "Carnegie Hero Fund Commission medal" for heroism when he saved the lives of two other people. In that incident, an explosion ignited the home of his 80-year-old neighbors who were trapped inside. Montelongo made two trips into the burning house to rescue the occupants.

Montelongo said he is not a hero, just someone who was in the right place at the right time.


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