No Brakes! Woman Plunges Into River
Two females, aged 13 and 22, are lucky to have survived this morning when their vehicle went head first into the Belize City Harbour.
22 year old Jasmine Smith's brakes failed and she barreled through one of the city's busiest intersections like a pinball, until her vehicle took the plunge.
Channel Seven's Cherisse Halsall was on the scene shortly after and she spoke with eyewitnesses. Here's the story:
Cherisse Halsall reporting
This morning city residents were peering over the side of swing bridge at the car submerged in the Belize river.
It happened at about 8:20 this morning - the height of the morning rush. The driver of this Kia Sportage, Jasmine Smith was heading in the direction of Pink Boutique when she lost control, collided with a motorcycle, bounced off this Jeep Cherokee, careened off the road and plunged into the river.
The vehicle was resting beneath the depths of the Ocean Ferry's dock when we arrived on the scene. According to the Jeep Cherokee's driver, faulty brakes may have been the cause of the accident.
Ramon Salgado, Driver, Jeep Cherokee
"When I look I saw the vehicle coming from straight across with speed and apparently it couldn't stop, because a guy was coming off the bridge with a motor bike and he was trying to avoid being hit. They knocked him down and the speed at which they were coming, they knocked my vehicle and shoot off and went straight into the river. It couldn't stop at all."
"She said that from around St. Catherine, her brake started to give problems. She should have stop and park that vehicle."
But Smith didn't, and as result, she caused a series of events that landed her in the river and that could have resulted in multiple fatalities. The heroic first responders described the scene of chaos:
Hermann Williams, Fisherman
"What I did I took off the net from my hands, and when I look I saw the vehicle just straight into the water in front of me and it looks like it was going under the bridge and the 2 young ladies inside the vehicle was panicking. One of them said she can't swim, so right away I jumped on top of the vehicle, because there was a strong current and if they had stayed in there, they would have ended up at the bottom."
Mark Mckenzie, Security Guard, PINK Boutique
"What could we do? We just couldn't say and watch, so I decided to jump into the water and see how I could assist and praised the Lord I was there to help them."
An unforgettable event that ended with a mid-sized SUV being fished out of the Belize Harbour, probably a first in the nearly hundred year history of the swing bridge.
The man on the motorbike, 38 year old Cordell Baptist received a large cut wound to his right leg, while the two women in the Jeep Andrea Young and Elvira Pitterson received minor injuries.
Driver of the ill-fated jeep, Jasmine Smith also received minor injuries. The 13 year old in her passenger seat was not hurt.
Reports say that the Kia Sportage could be seen minutes before going up stop on Fort Street, with the brakes smoking as if the park brake was on.