TAMPA, Florida — Dozens of strangers, wearing everything from suits to shorts and flip-flops, came together over the weekend to rescue a 9-year-old girl trapped beneath a flipped-over SUV near Tampa, Florida.
Images on social media show a congested I-75 highway as passing drivers stopped their vehicles and hopped out to push the truck upright and assist its three occupants.
None of the passengers were seriously injured in the crash Saturday. The 9-year-old girl was transported to Tampa General Hospital, along with her mother and another underage passenger, according to CNN affiliate Bay News 9.
The SUV upended after one of its right tires ruptured, prompting the driver to lose control of the vehicle. It rotated counter clockwise, entered a grassy median and collided with a guardrail off the highway, leaving behind a set of skid marks.
The three passengers were at some point unconscious but sustained no life-threatening injuries, said Sgt. Steve Gaskins of the Florida Highway Patrol.
A witness to the accident posted a photo on Facebook, showing a crowd of people working together to rescue the girl and hold the SUV upright.
“All these people ran from their vehicles … and helped to flip the truck back over and get a little girl out,” Veronica Casteleiro wrote on Facebook. “Just when I think humanity has lost its way, I see the kindness of others. I didn’t see anyone worried about race or politics, the only concern … (was) the lives in that car.”
Dayna Gibson, another witness, told Bay News 9 she pulled over after seeing the crash and joined the crowd of civilians to help.
“She told us that her youngest daughter was under the vehicle,” Gibson told Bay News 9. “So at that time all of us ran around to the other side and we saw the little girl’s arm sticking out from under the vehicle.”
Gibson estimated about 50 volunteers lent assistance.
“We achieved what would have been impossible by coming together,” Gibson said. “There were people from all walks of life there; it didn’t matter.”
By Sunday afternoon, the driver of the SUV and its other passenger had been released from the hospital, while the 9-year-old was listed in fair condition, Bay News 9 reported.