The Mahwah Fire Department responded Friday morning to a car submerged more than halfway in floodwaters in Hilburn, NY near the Mahwah border behind the Sharp complex, Assistant Fire Chief Brad Stio said. Mahwah Co. 1’s swift water rescue team and fan boat were called in at about 9:07 a.m. to assist Hilburn emergency responders who were approaching the vehicle from the Hilburn side of the Ramapo River, Stio said.
Though firefighters originally believed the driver was trapped inside the vehicle, they found it was empty, authorities said. The whereabouts of the driver and any other potential occupants of the vehicle were unknown as of 11:40 a.m., Stio said. New York state police are conducting a search for them, he said.
According to Stio, a series of dirt roadways behind the Sharp complex was flooded by the Ramapo River. The car appeared to be stuck in water on one of these dirt roads. However, Stio said authorities were unsure of how the car got there or why it might have been driving on the restricted access roads.
Co. 2 also responded to assist at the scene. After a driver was not found in the car, Mahwah firefighters helped Hilburn authorities investigate the inside of the car, Stio said.
“With the fan boat, we’re able to easily get to situations like this, and help anything or anyone that might be stuck in the water,” Stio said.