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'Heroic' car crash witness saves toddler who was ejected into Maryland bay

The person leapt from a bridge into Assawoman Bay after the girl's car seat was ejected from a pickup.
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A witness to a multivehicle car crash in Maryland on Sunday is being hailed as a hero after saving a toddler whose car seat was ejected into a bay near Ocean City.

The five-car crash occurred on a bridge over Assawoman Bay shortly before 3 p.m., the city’s fire department said in a statement.

The 2-year-old girl was ejected from a pickup that was “teetering” over a guardrail, the department said.

“A heroic witness jumped from the bridge into the bay and rescued the child,” city officials said in a statement.

The girl was flown to The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where she was in stable condition, officials said.

It isn’t clear what caused the accident, which left seven other people injured.

The witness asked to remain anonymous, officials said.

Joe Oertel and his family were in a boat when his daughter Alayna noticed the accident, they told NBC's "TODAY" show.

She said she remembered thinking that "there's gotta be someone in the water because there's no way someone didn't fall out of that car."

Joe Oertel wrote on Facebook that his wife saw someone was, in fact, in the water, and as they got closer, they realized it was a man holding a toddler.

"We got them on board within minutes of them landing in the bay," he wrote.

Then they raced to paramedics on shore.

"After everyone was secure, we zoomed there as fast as we could," Alayna Oertel said on "TODAY."

"The hero who jumped probably didn’t know that the bay is only 4’-5’ deep in that area," Joe Oertel said on Facebook.

When the good Samaritan got into the boat with the girl, "he was in tremendous shock," Joe added on "TODAY."

"It says a lot about some people's demeanor, just doing the right thing when you gotta do it," he said. "When the chips are down, people will come together to make the right choices."