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A 96-year-old woman saved herself by climbing out of her sinking car after it crashed into an icy creek.

"I thought I was going to drown," Mary Jardine said Tuesday from her bed in St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, where she was listed in fair condition.

"I pounded on the door, and pounded. No wonder my hands are sore. I tried to get it open, but it wouldn't open. I was getting so tired. Then I looked, and the door was opening. I'm telling you I got right out of that car," Ms. Jardine said.

She was backing out of her driveway Monday in Bridgeport, 10 miles northeast of Syracuse, when the car suddenly accelerated.

Madison County Undersheriff Doug Bailey said the car traveled across a road and soared across nearly 40 feet of water before landing on the opposite side of the fast-moving Chittenango Creek.

With only about a foot of the car sticking above the water, Ms. Jardine worked desperately to free herself. Once she escaped the car, she had to swim about 15 feet against the current to reach the bank, Bailey said.

Neighbors heard calls for help and found her on the bank, soaking and cold.

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