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Woman Survives More Than Five Minutes Under Water

February 14, 1992

UPLAND, Calif. (AP) _ A woman submerged for more than five minutes when a flash flood washed her under her car was improving Friday and gradually regaining consciousness and body functions, relatives and doctors said.

Christina Reed, 24, who suffered heart failure Wednesday while being rushed to San Antonio Community Hospital, was upgraded from critical to serious and stable Friday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

She was starting to slightly move her arms and legs and make eye contact with her family, her sister, Robin Reed, said Thursday. She was on a respirator.

″She’s opening up like a flower, one petal at a time,″ said her father, David Reed. ″Each of her brain functions is returning slowly.″

The cold water dropped by this week’s series of storms might have spared Christina severe brain damage by inducing hypothermia and lowering her body’s need for oxygen, nursing supervisor Cindy Coccia said Thursday.

This week’s deadly storms have dumped up to a foot or more of rain on some parts of the region.

Christina got into trouble Wednesday when she tried to stop her car from being pushed down an avenue by a cascading flow of water.

″She was worried that her car was going to float down into the intersection ... and possibly cause an accident,″ said Robin Reed.

The current knocked Christina off balance and sucked her under the car.

Tom Teders, 53, looked out his window and saw her holding on to the car trying to keep her head above water.

Teders, his 20-year-old son and another neighbor hurried over to try to lift the car - but were nearly pulled under as well.

A few minutes later, paramedics and police joined the trio and lifted the car. By that time, Christina had no vital signs.

Update hourly