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Palm Beach County firefighter rescues woman, dog after car crashes into Wellington lake

Posted: 1:51 PM, Jul 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-23 19:58:46-04

WELLINGTON, Fla. — A Palm Beach County firefighter rescued a woman and her dog on Tuesday afternoon after officials say she drove into a lake in Wellington.

According to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, crews responded to the scene around 1:15 p.m. in the 2000 block of Vinings Circle.

Officials said a Ford Mustang plunged into a lake and started sinking. The water rose up to the vehicle's windshield while a woman and her dog were still inside.

The driver, Diane Merkle, told WPTV's Michelle Quesada she pulled into a parking spot to check her GPS and accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake and accelerated into the lake.

"I was just disgusted," said Merkle. "I was like, I'm not old enough for this to happen."

Merkle said a firefighter threw a rope out to her, and she was able to grab it.

"As my car really began to sink, I went out the window and they caught me," said Merkle. "They threw a rope to me which I was able to wrap around myself and hold onto and drag her along with me."

Merkel said she and her dog, Trixie, made it out of the car and onto land safely. Both are expected to be OK.

"I really appreciate that everybody involved had good wishes for us," said Merkle.

Around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, a tow truck hauled the water-logged Mustang out of the lake.