Members of the Iowa State football team certainly could not have anticipated that activities on their Spring Break would include rescuing a drowning woman from a sinking car, but this is precisely what happened on March 16 when several Cyclones players were forced into action and pulled off an incredibly heroic, literally lifesaving feat.
Tommy Birch of USA Today, Josh Jahlas, a reserve linebacker on the Iowa State football team, was standing on a hotel balcony one night of his spring break trip in South Padre Island, Texas, when he noticed the taillights of a car submerged in a nearby canal.
Worried that someone was drowning in the car, which was quickly taking on water, Jahlas shouted to his friends and ISU teammates, Jack Spreed, Anthony Lazard, and Joe Doran. The four quickly took off toward the canal.
When they arrived, Spreed, Lazard, and Doran jumped into the water and swam toward the car; inside, they saw a 22-year-old Luisa Maria Castro struggling to free herself.
“She was like, ‘Get me out! Get me out! Get me out!'” Lazard told USA Today.
The three players and Castro herself began punching and kicking at the driver side window, but it didn’t immediately break. Lazard worried she might drown.
“I was getting worried that we were going to watch this girl drown to death, because no matter how hard we were hitting it, it wasn’t cracking or spidering for a while,” he said.
Luckily, Castro managed to break a small crack in the window, which the Cyclone football players then began to pry at. Finally, they had created a big enough hole to free her. Once out of the car, Castro was helped to shore by the players and met on land by Jahlas and other members of the team who had arrived on scene.
“They really are heroes, and I am forever grateful for what they did,” Castro said.
This is what a group of heroes look like. Jumped in and saved someone from drowning in their car. God bless. pic.twitter.com/K7AqG64KtQ
— ISU WOPA (@ISUWOPA) March 17, 2016
A local police officer, who had seen the car go into the water, said that if the football players hadn’t taken swam to save her, she likely would have died.
“That car completely sank in less than a minute and if not for them jumping into the water and pulling the driver out, she would most certainly have drowned,” Michael Schiltz said in a statement from the city.
For as heroic as the story was, the ending took a dark twist. When the police arrived, they found Castro’s blood-alcohol content to be nearly twice the legal limit. Castro was then charged and arrested for a DUI.
But don’t let the sour ending spoil what’s important here. As the old saying goes, not all heroes wear capes. Some play football at Iowa State and, when on Spring Break, wear American Flag bathing suits while punching in car windows.