Clewiston man pulled from canal after SUV lands upside down in water

A man was pulled from a canal after his SUV flipped into the water on Avenida del Rio on Wednesday, May 6, the Clewiston Police Department reported.

The accident occurred at around 9:23 p.m. near the 400 block of Avenida del Rio.

The Ford Explorer SUV, driven by 36-year-old John Royal, reportedly landed upside down in the canal and was almost fully submerged in the water when first responders arrived on scene, according to a report released by Clewiston police.

An off-duty Hendry County Sheriff’s Office deputy said he witnessed the accident and was in the canal when officers arrived. According to the deputy, no one had yet exited the vehicle.

When officers entered the canal, they reported that the SUV was completely sunk into the mud and the doors could not be opened, making it impossible for anyone to enter or exit.

A bystander reportedly threw one of the officers a hammer, which he used to break two windows out of the SUV. Another bystander threw the officers a chain, which they used to pull the SUV out of the mud, according to the report.

Officers were then able to pull the driver from the SUV and get him to the canal bank, where EMS began CPR. It was estimated that Royal was under water for approximately five minutes before officers were able to pull him to safety.

Royal had no pulse and was not breathing when EMS began CPR, according to a report released by Clewiston Fire Rescue. EMS and fire personnel administered advanced life support, and after several minutes, Royal was reportedly stabilized and began breathing on his own.

Royal was taken to Hendry Regional Medical Center in critical condition. He was then flown to an area hospital for more advanced medical treatment, according to the report.

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