Howard County rescue workers look over the scene of a vehicle submerged in a backyard pool early Saturday morning in Columbia.
Howard County rescue workers look over the scene of a vehicle submerged in a backyard pool early Saturday morning in Columbia. (Handout photo courtesy of Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services)

A driver trapped in a vehicle that landed in a backyard pool in Columbia was rescued early Saturday morning by the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, a spokesman said.

Rescuers used ladders and rope rigging systems to reach an elderly woman in the car, which had traveled down a 100-foot embankment into a pool in the 6600 block of Carlinda Ave. about 1:30 a.m., according to Battalion Chief Eric D. Proctor.

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Her name has not been made public by police.

"Her house has a drive-through carport, and at the end of the carport there's a 100-foot drop," Proctor said. Officials are not sure what caused her to lose control of the vehicle. It could have been a medical emergency, he said.

The woman, who is in her 70s, was conscious but disoriented, and water had risen up to her chest before she was rescued. She was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, he said. Her condition was not known to police Saturday afternoon.

The woman lives alone but keeps in close touch with her family, Proctor said. When they did not hear from her as expected Friday night, the family called police and asked them to check on her.

When officers arrived at her home, they discovered her in the pool, said Proctor. The pool is in the woman's backyard, he said.

Proctor said the woman seemed to be in fair condition upon discovery.

"We don't know how long she sat in the water before we got there," he said. "Hypothermia could have been an issue for someone that age."

Christie Pierina has lived next door to where the accident happened for about a decade.

The hill leading to the pool is covered in small bushes and trees and is quite steep, about a 35-degree angle, she said.

The rescue effort took several hours, and the police and emergency medical services activity did not end until about 4 a.m., Pierina said.

"There wasn't much water in the pool," she said. The pool has not been in use for several years, the neighbor said, and so the water level was kept low.

The top of the car was cut off in order to remove the woman, she said, and the car was still in the pool Saturday afternoon.

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