A Vancouver woman trapped underwater for 90 minutes after crashing through a Highway 99 barrier into the Serpentine River last week is now breathing on her own – an improvement police say is “amazing.”
“Miraculous, is what that is,” said Cpl. Aaron Sproule of the RCMP’s Lower Mainland District Traffic Services.
“After being submerged for as long as she was, for her to be breathing on her own within a week afterward, that’s fantastic.”
The woman has not, however, regained consciousness, and investigators still don’t know exactly what caused her to lose control of her car that morning.
Determining what role, if any, a second vehicle may have played in the Feb. 28 crash will be key in solving the puzzle, Sproule said.
The woman, in her 20s, was southbound in the 4600-block of Highway 99 just before 10 a.m. when she plunged through a barrier on the Serpentine River bridge into the murky water below. Her black Honda Civic settled upside-down on the river bottom.
Resuscitated and airlifted to hospital, the woman remains in critical condition.
While investigators said last week that witness reports identified a second vehicle which may have contributed to the tragedy, police are not ready to release any information about that other vehicle, Sproule said.
“They know what kind of vehicle it is. They’ve got a solid lead to follow up on,” Sproule said. “They need to know to what extent that vehicle was involved. Until they speak to the owner, speak to the driver, they didn’t want to compromise their investigation.”
It remains possible that the second vehicle was not a factor in the crash, Sproule noted.
“It would not be good of us to make any assumptions until we’ve at least contacted that second vehicle to determine if this information we’ve got is reliable.”
Investigators are confident alcohol, speed and aggressive driving were not factors, Sproule said. As well, there is no sign the second vehicle came into contact with the Honda Civic prior to the car breaching the barrier.
Physical evidence to explain what transpired that morning is limited, Sproule said.
Anyone with information on the incident who has not yet spoken to police is asked to contact Deas Island RCMP Traffic Services at 604-946-2184.