It seemed like the worst place for an emergency. A Florida woman found herself in a mid-afternoon traffic jam on Miami’s 836 expressway with an unconscious baby.
The Miami Herald reported that Pamela Rauseo had her 5-month-old nephew, Sebastian de la Cruz, in her care when he stopped breathing. The baby was born early and had respiratory issues, according to the newspaper.
But when Rauseo saw he was turning blue in the back seat, she leapt from the car and screamed for help. Lucila Godoy heard Rauseo’s cries and left her own toddler in the back seat of her car, rushing to the 37-year-old aunt’s aid.
Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz was also among those who heard the panic and witnessed the heroic actions by civilians and emergency officials that ultimately saved the baby — and he captured the stunning moments on camera.
“I heard screaming,” Diaz, who won a Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for his work covering Hurricane Andrew, told the newspaper.
He added that he heard Rauseo “screaming that the baby can’t breathe.”
Before whipping out his camera, the Miami Herald reported that Diaz found Sweetwater Police Officer Amauris Bastidas nearby.
As Rauseo blew air into the baby’s mouth, Bastias pumped his small chest.
“I lifted him up in the air and moved him up and down,” Bastias told the newspaper.
Relief came for a moment when de la Cruz started breathing, but then he stopped again.
Also stuck in the jam were Capt. Anthony Trim and Lt. Alvaro Tonanez with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, who heard of the emergency over the radio, according to the Herald. By the time they reached the frantic scene, the baby was breathing consistently, though his breath was weak.
The 5-month-old was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital and listed in stable condition Thursday evening, the Miami Herald reported.
As for the heroes who stopped to help, Godoy told WFOR-TV, “I think I just did whatever any person would do.”
Watch WFOR-TV’s report:
“It’s my duty. It’s my duty to act,” Bastidas told the news station.