A motorist heading down I-75 in Florida pulled off the road when a car traveling in the opposite lane blew a back tire, causing the driver of that SUV to lose control and fly into the grassy median.
Other passersby began stopping, and as a crowd formed, dozens of strangers, wearing everything from suits to shorts and flip-flops, came together to rescue a 9-year-old girl trapped beneath a flipped-over SUV near Tampa, Florida.
One witness was shocked at what she saw hidden in the group and immediately snapped a photo.
The Ford Excursion was traveling in the northbound lanes of I-75 towards Gibsonton Drive when a rear tire ruptured. The driver lost control, veering into the grassy median and flipping over the guardrail. It landed on its roof with a 9-year-old passenger partially stuck underneath.
Multiple people, including Dayna Gibson and her father David Lowe, pulled over when they saw the crash. They were able to get the 31-year-old driver and one of the young passengers out.
“She told us that her youngest daughter was under the vehicle,” Gibson said. “So at that time all of us ran around to the other side and we saw the little girl’s arm sticking out from under the vehicle.”
They tried to roll the SUV over to get the girl out, but it wouldn’t budge. But as more and more people stopped to help they were able to do it and get the girl to safety.
Gibson estimates as many as 50 people pulled over on the busy highway to pitch in.
“We achieved what would have been impossible by coming together,” Gibson said. “There were people from all walks of life there, it didn’t matter.”
“It was surreal,” Lowe said. “Everyone from shorts and flip flops to three piece suits.”
The Good Samaritans then stood holding the SUV upright to make sure it didn’t tip back over until first responders were able to secure it.
The three passengers, all from Port Charlotte, were taken to Tampa General Hospital. As of 3:36 p.m., the driver of the SUV and one of the passengers have been released from the hospital, while the 9-year-old is listed in fair condition.
“I think if we could be reminded how powerful we are together, especially during these times, we could do a lot of great things,” Gibson said.