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No fatalities in horrific multi-vehicle accident on Gowanus Expressway

Posted at 6:03 PM, Jan 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 18:04:28-05

GOWANUS, Brooklyn — The FDNY performed a miraculous rescue from a horrific six-car accident on the Gowanus Highway on Thursday morning that left four injured — but none were killed.

"I've seen it with fatalities. I've never seen it with this outcome. A condition like this, where somebody actually survives," FDNY Lt. Pat Mitchell said.

The six-car accident looked destined to end in death on the westbound Gowanus Expressway. The FDNY managed to cut a driver out of a car that collapsed like an accordion.

"When I looked at this mangled car, I just shook my head and I said I can't believe that this guy is alive and speaking," Batallion Chief Martin Ford said.

AIR 11 was flying over the accident just minutes after the 6:15 a.m. pileup. At the scene, one of the cars was barely visible in the mangled mess.

"They say it's a Toyota, it's a red car. I couldn't tell what make or model it was," Mitchell said.

The driver of that red car was trapped inside his car, laying in a 3-by-3 space — the only part of the car not crushed in the accident. Somehow, the driver is still alive.

"He just wound up in a lucky position because his car was completely a box," Mitchell said.

Lt. Mitchell and Ladder 109 were among the three companies involved in the harrowing rescue. A BMW was balancing on its front end, hanging over their heads the whole time.

"So we didn't want to have that car roll over on us as we were operating," Mitchell said. "So we could only take a little piece of the time so it wouldn't make that car move."

Traffic backed up across the Verrazano Bridge and into Staten Island during the morning rush, while rescuers hurried to get the driver out of the car.

"He was able to talk to us. He was complaining that his legs were crushed."

Firefighters said they distracted the man by asking him about his job while they used the jaws of life to lift the dashboard off his legs.

"And at that point he said I just want to get out of the car. And he was very excited, like we all were that he was in such good condition at the time."

About 45 minutes after they showed up, rescuers had the driver out of the car and on his way to Lutheran hospital for treatment.

"That pretty much, like I said, turned out to be a great ending."

At last check, the driver was in serious, but stable condition at Lutheran hospital. Three other people were also injured in the accident but they are expected to be okay. So far still no word on what caused the accident in the first place.