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Scuba divers that were searching for a missing mother and son in an alligator -infested pond needed police sniper protection to protect them.
Rescue teams had the backup of snipers while hunting for Nieves Matos, 80, and her son Mario Laza, 56, in Florida Turnpike, Miami, after their car plunged into the roadside pond.
The rescue mission was launched after the driver lost control of their blue Toyota minivan when trying to navigate the curve of an exit ramp at around noon on Friday, March 27.
Shocked witnesses charged into the water in a bid to retrieve the pair but cops soon realised they had deadly company.
It was reported that snipers had to surround the rescuers and get them out of the water to remove threats of any potential attacks.
Alex Camacho, of Florida Highway Patrol, explained: "The vehicle lost control, overturned driving off of the roadway into the pond.
"Dive teams from fire rescue and Miami-Dade Police did their search and rescue, and were able to rescue an adult female and adult male inside of the vehicle at the time."
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First responders carried out CPR on Matos and transported both victims to HCA Florida Kendall Hospital in critical condition.
Tributes have since poured out to the family after Laza was later pronounced dead from the injuries he sustained.
Laza, who was an employee at Miami Springs gas station, was adored by his friends and colleagues, according to reports by the Daily Mail.
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"I miss his smile, everything, how he talked, everything," Yusle Disperez told WSVN. "To me, we lost the light of this gas station."
His friend Carlos Borras also paid tribute and said: "We are in shock right now for this situation, but I hope he rests in peace."
A GoFundMe has been launched by the family to help pay for Laza's funeral costs and medical expenses.
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The page described him as "a person that you would never forget just by meeting him once
"He was someone full of life, laughter and good times to share, with a giant heart and a unique personality," it reads.
Matos currently remains at the hospital in critical condition at this time.
- In the News
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