The Short of It
An amazing story of survival is emerging from Utah, as we've learned a toddler survived what may have been as many as 14 hours suspended upside down in her car seat, in frigidly cold water, after a car crash that killed her mom.
Emergency crews in Spanish Fork River, outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, discovered an 18-month-old girl named Lily alive in an upside down vehicle, underneath an overpass in brutally cold conditions Saturday. She could have been in the badly damaged and partially submerged vehicle for up to 14 hours.
Lily was critically injured, but according to the latest reports, is breathing on her own following the rescue. Tragically, the toddler's mom, Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck, 25, died in the accident.
How little Lily, who was seated in the back row on the passenger side, survived the crash, and the freezing temperatures, is still being investigated. The water was so cold, three police officers and four firefighters who arrived on the scene had to be treated for hypothermia.
It's believed Groesbeck drove off the roadway late Friday night, and plunged into the cold river below, dying on impact. The car could not be seen from the roadway, and was discovered by a fisherman around noon on Saturday.
After a team of rescuers flipped the car, Firefighter Paul Tomadakis noticed Lily.
"I could see the baby was under water, and so I reached down inside there, grabbed the baby in my arm, raised its head out of the water, as I tried to release the seatbelt with other hand. When I lifted the head out of water, I could tell obviously she wasn't breathing, but... there was life," he told KUTV.
As CNN reports, Lily is "still fighting to recover." And a gofundme page set up to help the family has, as of this posting, received nearly $28,000 in donations—far exceeding the $8,000 requested. I have a 19-month-old daughter, and my heart aches especially for this little girl and her family. We sincerely hope Lily recovers fully from this devastating accident. She's just a toddler, but she's already proven to be an amazingly brave person.
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