Lobsterman Jumps Off Boat to Rescue Driver from Submerged Car

Manny Kourinos rescued a driver from a car that was sinking in the ocean on Thursday

<p>Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo</p> A fisherman on a tower scans the waters of Casco Bay in September 2020, off Portland, Maine.

Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo

A fisherman on a tower scans the waters of Casco Bay in September 2020, off Portland, Maine.

A lobsterman saved a person who was in a sinking vehicle in the ocean off East End beach in Portland, Maine, according to the Portland Police Department.

At 12:06 p.m. Thursday, the Portland police received a call that there was an occupied vehicle entering the ocean near the Cutter Street Boat Launch in the East End Beach area.

As the orange Ford Mustang, which police said had been reported stolen in South Portland earlier Thursday, began to sink, fire and police department crews approached the car, according to the Portland Police press release. While the crews were able to break into the car while it was underwater, they could not get the 33-year-old out of the vehicle immediately.

"As the car went below surface, our concern for that person was incredibly elevated," Portland police Lt. Robert Doherty told NBC News Center Maine.

That’s when the lobsterman, Manny Kourinos, put on his diving gear and jumped into the water to help the vehicle’s occupant.

"I went down and grabbed the guy and pulled him through the water," Kourinos told NBC News Center Maine. "He was unresponsive when I pulled him through the window."

<p>Getty</p> Image of a lobsterman hauling traps on boat in Casco Bay


Image of a lobsterman hauling traps on boat in Casco Bay

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After Kourinos retrieved the person from the vehicle, the police and fire crews brought the person onto the fire department boat. The rescue team started performing CPR as the boat headed back to shore, approximately 75 yards away.

The person was unresponsive without a pulse, but was later revived. They were transferred to a waiting ambulance, which took them to the Maine Medical Center. The person is in stable condition, police said.

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The rescue teams attributed the person’s survival to Kourinos’ heroic act.

"It was automatic -- came to me what to do," the experienced diver told NBC News Center Maine. "[I've] never been in that circumstance where I had to recover someone from underwater."

"I don't know. I don't, I guess I'll accept the [hero] label," Kourinos added. "I'm not one to wear a cape. So just doing what came natural."

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Doherty applauded Kourinos’ quick thinking. "Absolutely amazing. Amazing. Absolutely risked his life without hesitation," Doherty said.

"We were watching from shore. The police and firefighters were watching as he jumped in and absolutely as he put himself in harm's way to hopefully have saved someone's life,” Doherty told NBC News Center Maine. “It's an outstanding job. It was... impressive to watch."

The incident is still under investigation, Portland police said.

Investigators are urging anyone who has any information to call (207) 874-8575.

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