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Retired NYPD officer helps rescue driver after car plunges into Lake Norman, officials say

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — A retired NYPD officer jumped into Lake Norman and rescued the driver of a car that went into the water Wednesday afternoon, according to officials with the Mooresville Fire Department.

At around 3 p.m., the driver of a two-door BMW drove off the road and into the lake. Water then started pouring into the car.

Retired officer and local resident Mark Mistretta said he was across the street eating lunch at Eddie’s on Lake Norman when he heard the crash and jumped into action. He went in the water and swam to the sinking car.

“I didn’t realize how much time we had,” Mistretta said.

A nearby boater and two servers at the local restaurant also jumped in and helped get the driver to a dock.

“Everyone just went in, no hesitation,” server Mackenzie Heckle said. “We swim all the way to the car, and we’re just doing everything we can possible. It was just mind-blowing.”

Heckle said she managed to open the passenger’s side door as water poured in. Mistretta said within seconds, he was swimming through the opened door and unbuckling the driver. He was thankful for another boater who also jumped in to help.

“He was instrumental in keeping her head up because the water was coming up high, so he kept her head up so she could breath,” Mistretta said.

They pulled the driver out and swam her to the dock. Paramedics arrived within minutes to take her to a hospital. Police said the driver is expected to recover.

Crews also pulled the car out of Lake Norman.

“It was a collective, I’d say neighborly, rescue,” Mistretta said. “I would hope anyone, any American, would spring to action and try to save somebody’s life.”

Heckle said two of her fingers were cut up pretty badly. Mistretta also had a gash on the bottom of his foot. However, they both said it was worth it.

The Mooresville Police Department is investigating, but authorities said it appears the driver may have had a medical emergency before the crash.

No further information has been released. Return to this story for updates.

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