Utah baby survives car crash while upside down in frigid river

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(KUTV/CNN) — An amazing story of survival: a baby survives a dramatic car crash. Utah police say she was upside down in her car seat, in a frigid river, for 13 hours.

The bond between five Spanish Fork police and firefighters became even tighter on Saturday after they were dispatched to an upside-down car in the Spanish Fork river just after lunch.

“A witness said that there was an arm that he could see inside the vehicle,” said police officer Tyler Beddoes.

Each man jumped into the icy water, waded to the car, and flipped it over. Officer Bryan DeWitt said that “as we did that, it became apparent that the driver was deceased, but we also noticed that there was a small baby in the back seat.”

Twenty-five-year-old Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck had been had been driving home from her parents’ house late Friday night when, for a yet-unknown reason, she swerved over a cement barrier on the bridge, launching the vehicle into the frigid water.

Groesbeck died at the scene. Her 18-month-old baby girl was upside down in her car seat for up to 13 hours. The water never reached high enough to touch her.

“She was alive,” officer Jared Warner said. “She was definitely unconscious and not responsive.”

Firefighter Paul Tomadakis jumped on top of the car, opened the door and unstrapped the baby. “Grabbed the baby in my arm, raised its head up out of water, as I tried to release the seat belt,” he said.

Within seconds, the baby was passed from one rescuer to the next. “The child was passed to me,” Warner said, “and I ran up and climbed into the ambulance with the child.”

Hospital staff say, overnight, the baby has improved to fair condition, news this crew has been waiting to hear. “There’s probably nothing more gratifying than to know that,” said Warner.

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