Woman remains in critical condition after vehicle plunges into LA River

LONG BEACH — A woman whose SUV plunged into the Los Angeles River and was rescued after being under water for about 30 minutes remained hospitalized in critical condition today.

It was unclear if 24-year-old Lizeth Pimentel suffered brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. She is hospitalized at St. Mary Medical Center.

She's "still in critical condition,'' a nursing supervisor said this morning.

Firefighters speculated that the cold water or an air pocket in the vehicle may have helped save her.

The accident on the Shoemaker Bridge, also known as the Seventh Street bridge, occurred about 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning. It was unclear what cause the woman to crash through a guardrail and plunge into the river below.

Apparently, Pimentel has not regained consciousness. She had no pulse and her core temperature was 89 degrees when she arrived at the hospital, Andrew Reno, a hospital spokesman told the Press-Telegram.

Francisco Pimentel, the victim's brother, told KCAL9 Thursday night he was "relieved, for the fact that she's still alive. But you know all I want to do is to hug her and get to see her wake up and talk to her.''