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'I would do it again,' says man who jumped into lake to rescue 94-year-old in sinking car

Posted at 4:30 PM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 18:59:19-04

You could say Fabio Franca was at the right place at the right time two Saturdays ago after a woman drove her car into the water.

"I don't think it was an act of braveness. I just think it was an act of being there and being able to help," said Franca. 

A delay in picking up his son from his brother's house in Boca Raton put him in 94-year-old Alice Modine's path. 

"I was supposed to pick him up at 2 o'clock and he wasn't done till 2:15. Had he been ready at 2 o'clock, I would have been long gone," said Franca.

Driving on Glades Road in what he compared to a whiteout, he noticed Alice as he drove by her.

"I could see that her windows were kind of foggy and for some reason, I kept watching the car in my rearview mirror," said Franca. "She made a right turn. I was at the light over there and I knew that lake was here, there's nowhere for her to go but inside the lake." 

Franca is no stranger to the water; he surfs, paddle boards and runs his own swimming pool business. He was maybe the best person to cross paths with Alice.

"The rear of the car was still sticking up so I figured I got to go in fast. I didn't think twice," he said.

"He said, you know it came naturally to him as it would to anybody else. I said that's not true, just look at the traffic on Glades, there was a constant stream of cars. nobody even looked," said Alice.

Alice never got to thank him that day until friends of friends of one of her granddaughter's put the two in touch with each other.  

"I wanted to acknowledge that out of the goodness of his heart he saved my life and he didn't know me," she said. 

"If the situation would repeat itself, I would to it again," added Franca.

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