Teen Who Had Just Gotten Home from School Jumps into Water After Man’s Car Ended Up in Lake: ‘He Needed Help’

"People need help sometimes and you should be, as a community, there for each other... and it's really important to me," said Ethan Cakmak, 16

An Arizona high school student and his father are being praised for their quick thinking after the teen jumped into a pond to help rescue a person from a car that had plunged into a frigid lake.

Police said one person was in the vehicle that drove into the water near Queen Creek and Dobson roads on Wednesday, according to FOX affiliate KSAZ-TV and NBC affiliate KPNX.

Ethan Cakmak, 16, told ABC affiliate KNXV-TV he raced to the scene after learning that the car had crashed into the lake, which happened to be near his apartment complex.

The teen, who had just gotten home from school, said he jumped into action as his father Erkan called 911.

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The man behind the wheel of the car that crashed into the pond was unconscious when both Cakmak and his father arrived at the scene, according to KSAZ-TV and KNXV-TV. "He needed help," the teen told KSAZ-TV.

Ethan said the man was breathing, but was unresponsive as the teen banged on the car’s windows.

Members of Chandler’s fire and police departments arrived on scene a short time later and rescued the man from the water. The man was then transported to a local hospital.

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Both Ethan and Erkan were praised for their actions after Wednesday’s scary crash. Chandler Police Sergeant Ricky Gonzales found it “pretty cool” that the father-son duo stepped up to help someone in need with no questions asked, according to KSAZ-TV.

The Chandler Unified School District also praised the teen for his efforts in a post on X. “Ethan Cakmak perfectly embodied empathy, one of our Portrait of a Learner traits,” the district said.

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"People need help sometimes and you should be, as a community, there for each other... and it's really important to me. It's one of my values," Ethan told KNXV-TV.

Ethan told KSAZ-TV that he has seen several videos online “where people are in danger or in need,” and said many people seemingly “just ignore what's going on around them.”

“I think as humans we need to be a community for each other and be there for each other when they need help,” he continued. “Help people when you can."

An investigation into the crash is ongoing. The driver involved may have experienced a medical issue prior to the crash, per KPNX and KNXV-TV.

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