A woman accidentally drove her car into a marsh near the Beaufort Downtown Marina, but walked away without injuries.
The incident started at about 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 7, when firefighters with the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department responded to a report of a vehicle in the marsh.
Arriving units found a single vehicle in the marsh and the tidal waters on the rise.
“I was in the process of determining if this was a go/no go situation” said firefighter Stephen Tinsely. “The car was just far enough out in the marsh and had just enough water in the passenger compartment that it was hard for me to tell in anyone was in the vehicle.”
Just as Tinsely determined he was going to have to don his water-based personal protective equipment and enter the water to check for occupants, the driver came walking up.
She told them she was the only person in the vehicle and that she was able to get out of the car and get to shore prior to the arrival of the firefighters.
It was unclear how she ended up in the marsh.
“At that point, the environment becomes our main concern” said Lt. Matt Bowsher, who was the acting battalion chief in charge of the incident. “Any vehicle that enters our waterways has the opportunity to create a pollution event. Fortunately, in this case we did not readily observe any fluids leaking from the vehicle and we made sure to gather up as much of the debris as possible from the marsh.”
The fire department notified the SC Department of Natural Resources, the USCG Sector Charleston and the USCG National Response Center about the incident.
“Anytime we have an issue where the environment could be at risk, we make sure that our partners at the state and local level are notified,” said Fire Chief Reece Bertholf.
There were no injuries and an investigation into the incident is being conducted by law enforcement.