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Kitchener woman follows car's GPS directions into Lake Huron, swims to shore

Last Updated May 13, 2016 at 7:03 pm EDT

Photo by Andrea Vince/Tobermory Press, via Facebook (Inland Seas, Kayaking the Great Lakes)

Police say following the instructions from a GPS on a foggy night left an Ontario woman taking an unplanned swim in Lake Huron.

The 23-year-old woman from Kitchener, Ont., was following a route on her car’s GPS while driving in the dark on Thursday night in Tobermory, Ont., according to provincial police.

Const. Katrina Rubinstein-Gilbert said driving conditions were difficult as the woman approached a boat launch on Little Tub Harbour near midnight, with rain and fog making visibility difficult.

As a result, Rubinstein-Gilbert said the woman made a wrong turn with dramatic consequences.

“How the launch works, it’s not an airborne thing. It’s not ‘Dukes of Hazzard.’ It kind of goes off the road and the launch just drops all of a sudden,” she said. “So she would have been driving on the road, and then all of a sudden just dropped and hit water.”

Rubinstein-Gilbert said the car stayed afloat long enough for the woman to roll down the window, grab her purse and swim about 30 metres to shore. Once there, she walked to the nearest hotel and summoned police, she said.

The car, meanwhile, sank completely, prompting the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., to issue a broadcast instructing boats not to approach that launch for fear of being damaged by the submerged vehicle.

Police, the Ministry of the Environment and members of RCC Trenton gathered at the launch and towed the Toyota Yaris from the water on Friday morning.

Speaking through provincial police, the driver of the car declined all media requests.

Rubinstein-Gilbert said she escaped without any injuries and did not even suffer hypothermia from her dip in the four-degree-Celsius water.

“She’s in really good spirits,” she said. “Of course a little embarrassed, but taking it all in stride.”

Rubinstein-Gilbert said alcohol was “absolutely not” a factor in the incident. No charges are pending.

See photos of the car rescue here.