LOCUST TOWNSHIP -- A small camping community in Columbia County is still in shock after a tragic accident claimed the life of a resident yesterday.
79 year old Virginia Lindenmuth died Thursday night after the car she was in went into a pond.
It was a dramatic and terrifying Thursday afternoon after a car went into a pond at the Ideal Park Campground near Catawissa, carrying 79 year old Virginia Lindenmuth inside.
Mark Hoffman said Virginia and her husband, 81 year old Russ, had driven over to Mark's house to drop off soup.
Russ got out of the driver's side and closed the door but police said he accidentally left the car in drive.
The two men watched in horror as the car headed towards the pond.
“They said the car's moving and I was on the deck and I came running down and Russ is trying to stop it on the left fender and I went to the right fender and it wouldn't stop,” said Mark. “We were just in the heat of the moment, frantic.”
That's when Mark dove through the open driver's side window, going into the pond with Virginia.
As water flooded the car, Mark managed to get Virginia out, right back through that open window.
“I said to her you have to grab the back of my neck in order to get you through this window,” said Mark. “The first heave out I got her shoulders and head out and then bear-hugged her from under her arms and I pushed on the outside of the car door and heaved her out more.”
“He told her to take a breath and hold onto his neck and otherwise you`re going to die and she did and he got her out and it was a total miracle,” said Laura Weaver, owner of the campground.
Emergency crews rushed Virginia to the hospital as the car was towed to shore.
Police said Virginia died hours later.
Folks in this tight-knit community said Mark's efforts were not in vain.
“I mean he's a hero, he really is, even though she passed he's a hero,” said Weaver.
“I did what I could to get her out,” said Mark. “God rest her soul.”
The Locust Township Police Chief said Virginia was conscious and talking when she was put into the ambulance.
The coroner said she died of respiratory distress.