2 Fla. Teens Rescue Man from Truck That Crashed into Canal: 'I Feel Happy'


From Left: Elijah Hodge and Tony Cooper

Tony Cooper and Elijah Hodge, both 13, rushed over to help a driver whose vehicle ended up in a Florida canal

Two Florida teenagers are being hailed as heroes for saving a man whose truck went into a canal.

According to a statement issued to PEOPLE by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, authorities "responded to a call about a vehicle in a canal near the 7100 block of West McNab Road in North Lauderdale" on the evening of Wednesday, May 29. They added that the emergency responders arrived at the scene and found "the driver, who managed to get out of the vehicle and swim onto the embankment."

The driver, who said there were no other occupants in the vehicle, was evaluated by paramedics at the scene and released, per authorities. He also told responders "a juvenile reached for his hand and assisted him to the embankment."

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According to FOX affiliate WSVN, friends Tony Cooper and Elijah Hodge, both 13, saw the vehicle, a Toyota truck, go into the canal and hurried over to help the driver.

“We rushed and took off our shoes and stuff,” Cooper told WSVN. “We literally jumped on the hood and then we took off the seat belt and then we pulled them out. I started screaming at him because he was heavy while he was in the car. We [were] screaming, he woke up, we helped him get out of the car and after that, he was on the hood and then we pulled him onto the grass.”

Witness Dorothy Borgelin also told the outlet that she saw the truck in the water and then Cooper and Hodge helping out at the scene.

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“They were on the other side,” Borgelin said of the teens, “and then they just jumped into the water. One of them went on top of the hood and the other one was in the water, trying to pull the men out. They did an amazing job to save the man’s life.”

Among those who praised the teens for their efforts was North Lauderdale Mayor Samson Borgelin, who issued a statement to WSVN. “I am incredibly proud of these young citizens and their heroic efforts. I will be reaching out to them and their families to formally recognize their bravery,” he said.

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A WSVN viewer who heard about the story met Cooper and Hodge in person and gave them each a check for $250. “Im just so proud of you boys,” the viewer said, per the outlet.

When asked how they feel about what happened, Cooper said, per WSVN, “I feel great.” Hodge added, “I feel happy.”

Per the sheriff's office, "The circumstances surrounding the incident is under investigation."

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