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Bystanders flip SUV to rescue teen from river

Bystanders flipped over an SUV that crashed into the Jordan River Thursday and rescued the teenage driver.
Bystanders flipped over an SUV that crashed into the Jordan River Thursday and rescued the teenage driver.
(Credit: Mike DeBernardo, KSL)

SALT LAKE CITY — Bystanders flipped over a sport utility vehicle that crashed into the Jordan River Thursday and rescued the teenage driver.

The teen was driving east on Indiana Avenue when he swerved to miss the cars stopped at a red light near 800 South and Jordan River Parkway and crashed into the river, Salt Lake Police Lt. Brian Purvis said.

The SUV landed on its roof in the river.

"Luckily there was a group of bystanders that were in the area that jumped into the river and rolled the car back over and were able to help get the passengers out," Purvis said.

Witnesses said about a dozen people helped flip the car. The driver was under water for five or six minutes, they said. He was extricated from the wreck by firefighters and taken to an area hospital in serious condition.

Ron Darro, who helped flip the vehicle, said attempts to cut the boy's seat belt and pull him from the car were unsuccessful, prompting them to try to get the vehicle upright.

"Everybody was yelling to jump in the water, and it just started snowballing. More and more people were in the water," Darro said.

The two passengers were also transported to the hospital, Purvis said.

"It could have been a terrible outcome," he said. "It was just very, very lucky."

— McKenzie Romero