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Rescuers flip car to save 2 trapped inside

An elderly Fitchburg couple were rescued from the Nashua River Sunday morning after their car rolled in and capsized, submerging them , according to the Fitchburg Fire Department.

When firefighters and police officers arrived to the corner of Westminster Street and Simonds Road about 8:43 a.m., they were able to flip the car right-side-up, said Deputy Fire Chief Brian Murchie.

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“Between four on-duty Fitchburg officers, one off-duty, and two or three firefighters muscled the car from the roof onto its wheels” while fighting against the current, Murchie said. They had been “in the process of setting up a winch but they felt they could get it over with sheer muscle. That’s what they did — flipped that thing right over.”

Once the car was righted, officials used the Jaws of Life to rescue an 80-year-old woman, identified by fire officials as Marie Boudreau, from the driver’s side. They were able to reach and remove an 85-year-old man, identified by officials as Rene Boudreau, from the passenger’s side, said Captain Richard Liberatore of the Fitchburg Fire Department.

The Boudreaus were unresponsive when they were recovered from the water but each regained a pulse and blood pressure en route to Leominster Hospital, where they were being treated in the intensive care unit, Murchie said.

“The EMS people did an outstanding job,” said Liberatore. “To find that they were lifeless in the water and now they’re breathing — we are ecstatic about that.”

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Jeff Fish can be reached at jfish@globe.com.
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