Police don’t yet know what caused Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck’s vehicle to strike a bridge embankment and flip upside down into Utah’s Spanish Fork River below. The crash likely occurred around 10:30pm on Mar. 6, but the vehicle was not discovered until the following day when a fisherman saw it in the river around noon and phoned for help.
Rescue personnel arrived on the scene shortly after the call and waded into the icy water to turn the car right-side-up. They immediately recognized that Groesbeck, 25, was dead. However, Groesbeck’s 18-month-old daughter, Lily, was found alive in her car seat, though unconscious. She had been hanging upside-down above the freezing water line for approximately 14 hours without food or medical attention.
Lily was unresponsive when rescued and was rushed to a hospital for care. She has been steadily improving since then.
“Her improvement is astounding,” said Lily’s family in an online update. “Right now she’s watching Dora and singing ‘Wheels on the Bus’ with Grandpa. She is smiling and laughing for family members. We’re blown away by Lily’s progress and so grateful to her rescuers.”
The river’s water temperature was so cold at the time of the rescue that seven emergency personnel required treatment for hyperthermia after pulling Lily from the vehicle, according to CNN. Multiple rescuers also reported hearing an adult voice calling for help from the location of the vehicle, though Groesbeck was dead and no one else was found nearby.
“The four of us heard a distinct voice coming from the car,” said police officer Jared Warner. “To me, it didn’t sound like a child’s voice.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Ali Sumsion, a friend of Jennifer, to raise funds to cover funeral expenses and Lily’s medical care.
“We would like to thank the first responders, medical personnel, policemen and firefighters who risked their own lives to save this sweet baby,” the page said. “Any donations and of course your prayers are appreciated.”
The GoFundMe page has raised over $66,000 since going up three days ago. If you would like to contribute, click here.