More information on dangerous Sunday night water rescue

More information on dangerous Sunday night water rescue »Play Video

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Action News was there Sunday night during a miraculous water rescue near Wapato. Crews pulled a man from his car in the middle of the Yakima River.

He had somehow driven into the water upstream from the Donald-Wapato Bridge. The video is making national headlines today.

"Help me!" Facondo Hernandez yelled.

He was clinging to his car in the middle of a swift-moving - and bitter cold - river. Deputies still aren't sure how the car ended up in the water. But it flipped a couple times, and his car ended up 100 feet off shore.

Art Gonzalez drove over the Donald-Wapato Bridge just moments later.

"When I saw headlights, I go, 'This just happened,'" Gonzalez said.

Art immediately called 911.

"I could see somebody in there and he was passed out, knocked out, and all of a sudden, he started moving," he said.

Art stayed on the scene, directing emergency crews to the area. He was able to communicate with the Wapato man inside the car yelling for help.

Art encouraged him to stay with the car and not venture into the current. It turned out a second man had already successfully made it to shore.

"Here comes this guy walking, and he was all soaked, and he told me there was somebody else in there, so that's when I called 911 right away," Art said. 
Whoever that second man was, he left the scene. Facondo clung to the door, with just one window above water.

Yakima County's Swift Water Rescue Team had him in a boat in under an hour. Scot Swallow was driving that rescue boat. He knows the rarity of a happy ending.

"It doesn't always end nicely, the way we would like it to," Swallow said. 

The Swift Water Rescue Team averages about six water rescues a year.
"It felt good that everybody worked together," Swallow said. "We were able to get the guy out. No injuries, we all came home."

Deputies also pointed to that good Samaritan Art Hernandez, who first spotted the car and stayed to the end.

"How does it feel knowing you might have saved a life today?" Action News asked.
"I'm kind of feeling kind of, I don't know, weird," Art said. "Right now, I'm just glad he's okay."

Hernandez is still in the hospital being treated for hypothermia. It's not yet clear how he ended up driving into the river. He's being tested for impairment.

The car is still in the river until it's safe to move it.