Man Saves 3 from Car Sinking into Sheepshead Bay


sheepshead-bayIt was a frightening accident that could have ended in tragedy, but instead became a tale of heroism. A Staten Island mother and her two daughters were on their way to a party in Brooklyn this past weekend when their car plunged into Sheepshead Bay.

“I just remember being in the car one second and in the water the next,” Rebeca Yelizarov said.

The Yelizarov family car ended up in the water, and they might have been trapped inside if it weren’t for a local fisherman.

Keith Gorman is first mate on the Sea Queen Seven. He’d just returned from a fishing trip when he heard the crash.

“When I heard screaming, I started pulling my boots off because I knew, at that point, people were in the water,” Gorman said.

It all happened in the blink of an eye: the car, in reverse, shot across the street, jumped the curb, smashed through the guardrail, and plunged into the water. As a crowd of people watched, Gorman jumped in.

“Jumped over like this, hung over the side and just jumped in,” he said. I pulled the seatbelts aside, turned the car off because the car was still running, and I pulled her out and I pushed her up onto the hood.”

13-year-old Rebeca and 16-year-old Talya watched him pull their mother, Alla, to safety, and then dive back into the submerged car.

“He swam in, helped my mom come out, and then he went back to get her bag,” Talya said.

“Anyone who jumps in the water after a wreck, that takes a lot of nerve, courage, bravery,” Sheepshead Bay resident Peter Romeo said.

Gorman, 42, is a guy you want to have around in a pinch. He says looking out for others is part of his job.

“If someone falls over on my boat, my job is to get in there, get them out, get a rope around them, and pull them back into the boat,” Gorman said.

But the Yelizarov family knows he went above and beyond the call of duty.

“He is our angel, our family angel – believe me, he saved our life,” father David Yelizarov said. “I just want to bless him and say thank you so much, because he did a great thing.

“Everyone else around was just standing there, calling and just looking – they didn’t do anything about it, except for him,” he said.

“When you’re there and you see someone in trouble, you just respond,” Gorman said.

That’s often easier said than done, but that didn’t stop Keith Gorman.

The mother and her two daughters were not hurt when their car plunged into the water.

{1010 WINS, WCBS-TV NY/Noam Newscenter}