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, Stephen Sorace
Plenty of people found themselves in dire need of Good Samaritans, first responders and at least one guardian angel in 2019.
Some unlucky souls fell into septic tanks or grain silos. Others found themselves in the crosshairs of a drunken driver – but in each case rescuers saved the day.
Here are some of the year’s most amazing and bizarre rescues:
‘Angel’ saves Arizona family from drunken driver
A miraculous rescue occurred in October when a man accidentally saved a family crossing a busy street in Arizona from a suspected drunken driver.
Shannon Vivar, who police would later call an “angel,” smashed his car into a Jeep that was running a red light at an intersection — and appeared to be about to mow down a couple crossing the street, pushing a stroller.
Phoenix police arrested the Jeep driver, Ernesto Oveso, 23, after a brief chase.
Days after video of the accident was released, Vivar was honored as a “community hero” and given a 2018 Chevy Cruz to replace his damaged vehicle, courtesy of used-car retailer Carvana.
Oregon woman stuck in septic tank for days
Defying the odds, an Oregon woman was rescued in August after she fell into a septic tank and was stuck in raw sewage for days, officials said.
Rescue teams from the Estacada fire department, Technical Rescue Team along with Engine 318 from Clackamas Fire helped rescue the woman, fire officials said. (Estacada Rural Fire District No. 69)
The unidentified woman had been working on the tank outside her rural home, where she lived alone, when she fell after the rusted metal top gave way..
After not being heard from for several days, the woman’s daughter went to check on her and found her lying in the tank .
Firefighters pulled her from the tank and rescue crews rushed her to a hospital by helicopter, the Estacada fire department wrote on Facebook at the time.
Miraculously, the woman didn’t suffer any major injuries.
Utah man found wedged in 12-inch drain pipe
A Utah man got a rude awakening in September when he found himself trapped in a drainage pipe underneath a busy overpass.
Salt Lake City firefighters extricated a man who fell asleep and became trapped in a 12-inch drainage pipe in September. (Salt Lake City Fire Fighters IAFF Local 81)
The unidentified 40-year-old man had fallen asleep near the pipe and slid down into it without waking up, Capt. Adam Davies of the Salt Lake City Fire Department told FOX13 Salt Lake City.
Passersby later heard the man screaming for help and called emergency responders.
The rescue operation proved difficult because the man had become wedged in the pipe, which was just a foot wide. The fire department’s heavy rescue team cut some of the pipe and used a pulley system to drag the man out, Davies said.
The man appeared dehydrated but had no significant injuries when he was taken to the hospital, officials said.
“It is rare to have a live rescue in a confined space like that,” Davies said, noting that reduced oxygen content and toxic gases usually kill those trapped in such places. “Any day you have a live rescue is a good day in the fire service.”
Pennsylvania man falls asleep in dumpster, wakes up in garbage truck
There are safer places to sleep one off.
In early September, a Pennsylvania man fell asleep in a dumpster and woke up screaming inside a garbage truck.
The Pittsburgh fire and police departments responded to rescue the trapped man, officials said. (Republic Services)
A driver with Republic Services was emptying a garbage container into the back of his big blue truck around 3:30 a.m. when he heard a man’s screams, Pittsburgh police said.
The driver got out and opened a sliding door in the rear, discovering the stowaway amid the trash. Unable to free the man himself, he called for help.
After firefighters pulled out the unidentified man, he told authorities he’d gotten separated from a friend the night before and needed a place to to sleep. A nearby dumpster was his unfortunate choice.
He was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
Indiana woman rescued a week after falling to bottom of silo
An Indianapolis woman was rescued from a grain silo in June after claiming she spent a week trapped at the bottom, officials said.
The woman told rescuers she had been trapped at the bottom for a week, officials said. (Indianapolis Fire Department)
Workers had been preparing to replace the 30-foot silo when they discovered the unidentified woman, the Indianapolis Fire Department tweeted at the time.
The 28-year-old woman told authorities she was homeless and had been looking for shelter when she fell in. She said she climbed the silo using an outside ladder, but while using an interior one, she slipped and fell.
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Rescuers got her out through a lower hatch. Despite lack of food and water, she was described at the scene as “alert” and “oriented,” with no visible injuries.
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