(NEW YORK) — A witness captured the aftermath of a fiery collision on video this weekend, showing a group of motorists as they scrambled to rescue an elderly couple from a burning car trapped beneath a tanker truck.
Carmin and Alejandro Rivera Sr. were driving along Route 17 in Goshen, New York — about an hour north of Manhattan — Sunday when a tire blew out on their Subaru, causing them to lose control.
Their vehicle swerved to the left of the road, right under the tanker truck, and caught fire, according to witnesses.
One witness captured the aftermath of the crash as several strangers rushed to help the couple. Several people can be seen running to and from the vehicles in fear that they could explode with the couple still wedged beneath.
“Everybody just ran across the highway, even with flames coming out of the gas tank from the car,” one witness, Jackie Welch, told ABC New York station WABC Tuesday. “Nobody knew if it was going to blow up, or if it was a fuel tanker and nobody cared.”
At least three bystanders were seen crawling under the tanker truck in an attempt to assist the couple. One witness, Jackie Welch, said her son-in-law was one of the people who jumped into immediate action.
“[They] ran over without even thinking, even with the flames,” Welch said. “Nobody really knew what the tanker was carrying.”
“They got the people out of the car and next thing you know somebody was screaming, ‘Get back, get back’ and the gas tank just blew up on the car,” she added.
The Riveras, who’ve been married for 56 years, managed to make it out of the vehicle alive, although they suffered serious injuries.
Carmin Rivera sustained head trauma and is in intensive care, and her husband, Alejandro Rivera Sr., suffered a broken back, broken ribs and a broken ankle, according to WABC. The driver of the truck was not injured.
The couple’s son, Alejandro Rivera Jr., told WABC Monday he is thankful good Samaritans jumped into action.
The tanker truck turned out to be filled with liquid sugar, not oil as some witnesses feared, but he said he’s convinced his parents may have burned to death if the strangers hadn’t rushed to rescue them.
“Without their help, my parents would certainly not be here today,” he added, praising the strangers for their courage.
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