A few dollars may help you escape a sinking car - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

A few dollars may help you escape a sinking car

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Authorities say it's cheap, it's easy, and rescue personnel say it may save your life.  It's called a center punch, and it costs just a few dollars. The tool is made to shatter a window, even under water.

Rescuers dove into the murky waters of Black Bayou shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday night. Within minutes they had broken through the rear window of the submerged car to Raelyn Encalade's daughters  Faith, 9, and Patience, 7, strapped in the car.

Rescuers tried CPR, but it was too late. One of the first on the scene was Shane Rojas with the St. Amant Fire Department. A day late, he wants the public to know about the center punch and how it works. Rojas says to take the tool with the palm of your hand and press into the corner of a window. The glass will shatter. He says it will not work on a windshield, which is thicker.

Rojas says if you're in a car that's sinking, let the car fill up with water, then open the door, once the pressure equalizes.  Chief James LeBlanc with St. Amant Fire says Raelyn Encalade did the best she could.

"It's real easy to sit here now and say be calm and unbuckle your seat belt and bust through the window and swim out. It's very difficult for that to happen," LeBlanc said.

For more tips on escaping a submerged car, click here.

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