PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – A 3-year-old floated to safety after an argument between her parents led to the family's car plunging into a South Florida lake Tuesday, The Sun Sentinel reports.
Police believe Sariyah Michel's diaper was so buoyant, it propelled her out of the submerged car.
"All of a sudden, this little thing popped up like a cork," Deputy Cazi Navarro told The Sun Sentinel.
Navarro rescued the toddler shortly after pulling her mother, Catherine Copeland, to safety.
The baby's father, Sandro Michel, drowned during the accident, The Sun Sentinel reports.
Michel was reportedly on probation for domestic battery, and had two incidents of domestic violence involving Copeland. He was under court order not to contact Copeland, except by phone, text or email to arrange visitations with Sariyah.
Police first responded to reports of a couple fighting at a gas station. Witnesses recall seeing Copeland driving the car while Michel hit her, causing the car to swerve and land in the lake, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.
Navarro arrived on the scene shortly afterward and heard Copeland's cries for help.
"She was screaming, 'I don't know how to swim!'" Navarro told The Sun Sentinel.
Police searched for the missing toddler and soon spotted her bobbing toward the surface of the 40-foot-deep lake.
"At that point the baby was kind of lifeless, her arms were dangling, no responsiveness, no consciousness," Deputy Michael Francis told The Sun Sentinel.
Sariyah was reportedly taken to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., where she was listed in critical but stable condition. She was later released.
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