A group of ice skaters captured the moment a car drove across a frozen Indianapolis canal.
Videos went on to show the car after it appeared to have tumbled into the freezing water.
Clips of the incident blew up on TikTok and Twitter, receiving millions of views.
On December 26, a TikTok video of a car driving across a frozen canal before tumbling into the water began to rack up millions of views.
In the clip, a group of people are shown skating across the ice. As they notice a car coming towards them, they step to the side out of its way. “That’s so ballsy,” an onlooker can be heard commenting.
As the car passed them and continued onward, the viewers appeared to grow nervous. “He knows it’s thawed down there?” a voice asked. The video cut to an image of a car that had crashed through ice. “They did not know that it was thawed,” the poster Rachel Bowling said. The video has since been viewed 13.1 million times.
“Hey guys, watch where you drive, the driver said she had no idea she wasn’t on a road,” Bowling’s video was captioned. It received over 13 million views and 8,000 comments.
In a December 27 follow-up TikTok, Bowling responded to one comment asking her to elaborate on the incident.
“We saw her drive down across the parking lot, through the grass, down this very steep hill that goes across the sidewalk, and onto the canal — which is usually water. And anyone from Indianapolis knows that that’s water and that’s not a place cars go,” she said.
“Once she started heading south,” Bowling added, “We knew it was an issue because we knew that they pump the warm water in the south side of the canal.”
Bowling said the group raced toward the car to help, and a man Bowling identified as “Jacob” jumped in and “tried to pull her out of her window” while another bystander jumped in to help retrieve both the driver and Jacob from the freezing water. Bowling said bystanders brought the woman into a nearby hotel to warm up.
“The dude that helped pull them out of the water invited Jacob up to their apartment, and got him dry clothes,” Bowling continued. “And we gave our statements to the police. We were just in our socks because we took our skates off in a hurry.”
“We watched them fish the car out of the canal,” Bowling told viewers. “After they checked it and made sure that there was no one else in there.” In a follow-up video on December 28 that appears to show this moment, onlookers describe the car as “just spinning like a disco ball” as it’s lifted from the water.
“The fact the ice held the car though,” commented one user on Bowling’s third video of the incident. “That’s what we were saying! We were being so cautious on skates for no reason 😂,” Bowling replied. Later, Bowling showed viewers the path she believed the driver drove to the canal.
Bowling did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
A tweet showing what appears to be another angle of the incident, posted by Mason Brauchla, also went viral, receiving over 180,000 views.
Brauchla spoke to KRON-TV, based in San Francisco, California, which reported that he lives right beside the canal. He told the outlet he caught the moment when he noticed headlights while taking out the trash.
“I couldn’t even believe what I was seeing,” Brauchla told the outlet. “I couldn’t believe, first off, the ice was even supporting their car for that long. They were probably going 30 miles per hour, at least. I was just shocked.”
Indianapolis CW affiliate outlet WISH-TV reported that the fire department responded to reports of a car that was driven into a canal in downtown Indianapolis on December 25, when the temperature was 10 degrees.
The outlet also reported that a 33-year-old woman named Biankia Gleason had been arrested in connection with the event, suspected of driving under the influence, and told firefighters her GPS had taken her onto the canal.
Extreme weather spread across the US over the holiday weekend, in what has been called a “once-in-a-generation storm” by the National Weather Service. It has resulted in at least 50 deaths and stranded thousands of travelers during the holiday rush.
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