First responders, witnesses speak on incredible rescue of woman at Mesa canal

- Nearly a dozen people, from civilians to 911 dispatch operators to the crew at Ladder 201, were instrumental in the rescue of a woman submerged at a Mesa canal.

The voice on the phone was obviously stricken with fear.

"Where are you at?" the 911 operator asked.

"I think I am at Alma School," the woman replied.

The 911 operators were desperate to get the woman help.

"She insisted through the whole call that she was in the intersection," said Monica Payne, a police dispatcher.

"You could actually hear the water coming up, we could hear the water flowing in the vehicle," said Julie Briones, a fire dispatcher.

A press conference was held today. Briones and Payne were there, and both were on the line with the female driver, doing what they could to get firefighters to the canal.

Nikki Cortez and her fiance, Jason Martin, were on scene doing the same thing.

"He turned around quickly and I dialed 911," Cortez said.

"We wanted to get in the vehicle, I have a small rope in the car, but the way the current was going, it was very risky," Martin said.

Merrill Brimley shot the video that has since gone viral.

"I witnessed as they were trying to determine if she was alive or not," he said.

It was bout 4:15 p.m. on Monday during the monsoon. The floodwater in the canal was rising quickly and firefighters who responded were working even faster.

"I reached down, tried to unbuckle the seatbelt... that was when somebody grabbed my hand," said Kyle Kuball, a Mesa firefighter.

Kuball is the hero who went in after the woman. He says the captain came up with the plan to lower their ladder down to the car and assured him it was safe and the only thing to do.

"Once I was able to get her on the ladder and turn her over, all I was concerned about was letting her know she was OK and then making sure there was no one else in the vehicle, and she was able to tell me that," Kuball said.

Everyone involved knew this was a race against time and it's one they're thankful they were victorious over, as is the woman behind the wheel who has only been identified as a 71-year-old Goodyear resident.

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