Man drives van into bay near Berkeley, crawls to safety

Image: Google Maps
Image: Google Maps

A man who accidentally drove his van into the San Francisco Bay near HS Lordships restaurant in Berkeley just after midnight Friday managed to get back to land before authorities arrived to save him.

Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said Friday that the man, who appeared to be in his 60s, had been parked facing the water toward San Francisco around midnight when the accident occurred.

“As he went to back out, he lost control of the vehicle and made several circles in reverse before going over the side of the embankment into the water,” Webb said.

Authorities in Berkeley received a call about the accident at 12:03 a.m. Dispatchers sent out a “water rescue” team after a vehicle was reported to be in the water off Seawall Drive. Berkeleyside broke the news of the accident on Twitter at 12:06 a.m


When the call came in, authorities were told that the rear of the van was in the water. As responders got to the scene, Webb said the van had shifted, with the passenger side of the vehicle submerged in the water. The driver’s side door was still above the water line, however.

“The elderly gentleman had been able to get out of the driver’s side, to rescue himself,” Webb said.

Firefighters examined the man but found him to be uninjured.

Firefighters remained on scene to help arrange a tow truck to get the van out of the water, Webb said.

CORRECTION: The man who drove into the water Friday morning ended up in the San Francisco Bay. An earlier version of this story has been corrected to reflect this.

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.