One Dead After Crash Into Miami Pond Teeming With Alligators

A vehicle containing two people crashed into an alligator-infested pond in Miami on Friday, leading to a complicated rescue mission involving rescue divers and police snipers, according to local reports.

Nieves Matos, 80, and her son, Mario Laza, 56, were driving along the Florida Turnpike when their vehicle lost control and overturned, veering off the roadway into a pond, a Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson told WSVN 7 News.

Some witnesses of the crash dove into the water to help, WSVN reported. Rescue dive teams followed, eventually pulling the mother and son from the underwater car.

Snipers were trained on the pond to protect divers from the alligators, as seen in footage of the dangerous rescue operation streamed by WSVN.

Paramedics transported both patients to a local hospital, where Laza died. His mother survived, but remains in a critical condition, according to local reports.

In a GoFundMe raising money for Laza’s funeral costs, loved ones said the mother and son were under water for nearly 10 minutes while surrounded by alligators, making it difficult for police to get them out in time.

Laza “was a person that you would never forget just by meeting him once,” the fundraising page said in Spanish, according to a translation. “He was someone full of life, laughter and good times to share, with a giant heart and a unique personality.”

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