A 40-year-old Burlington man was pulled from the Charles River Tuesday morning after a crash sent his station wagon off Memorial Drive and into the water in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Ronaldo Kamers escaped with just a few cuts to his head and leg. He had to free himself from the submerged car by punching through its sunroof, because the water pressure and air bags kept him from using the doors or windows, said his daughter, Thalita Francischetti.
"He said he was very worried because the water started coming in and it was very quick, so he had to hold his breath and figure out what way to go out," she said.
The crash occurred on Memorial Drive near the intersection with Western Avenue around 6:30 a.m. Crews eventually lifted Kamers' 2013 Subaru Outback station wagon from the water and towed it away later Tuesday morning.
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Before emergency crews arrived on scene, Kamers was rescued by a passing safety boat that works with a local college crew team. He was taken to Beth Israel Hospital to be evaluated for any injuries, Massachusetts State Police said.
Kamers said he was forever grateful to the boater, and his daughter said she cried, "a lot," when she saw video from the incident.
"When I saw the car the way it was, I was like, 'Oh my god, it's going to be serious. It's not going to be something minor.'"
The other car involved in the crash was a 2018 Ford 350 pickup, owned by a construction company and operated by a 29-year-old man from Lynn. He was not injured, but police said he was being cited for driving with a suspended registration, as well as failing to stop or yield.
PHOTOS: Car Plunges Into Charles River After Cambridge Crash
The Cambridge police and fire departments, along with Massachusetts State Police, responded to the scene. Memorial Drive was closed in both directions at the Western Avenue bridge for a few hours but was reopened.
Cambridge fire Chief Gerard Mahoney said the Subaru collided with the Ford truck, which sent the car across the sidewalk and into the water. State police are still investigating, but said that the truck had stopped and caused the crash that sent the Subaru into the water.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation will work to repair the fence in the area, Mahoney said.
Officials said they have responded to similar crashes along the Memorial Drive stretch of the Charles in the past, noting that it is a busy road in close proximity to the water.