SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Around 2:30 a.m. Sunday a car drove off Harbor Island Drive and plunged into the San Diego Bay.
Neighbors in Marina Cortez woke up from the sound of screeching tires. Michael Koesterer was alerted by his daughter and ran to help.
He found a red Pontiac overturned in the water, near the Sheraton Hotel. He called 9-1-1 and when the ambulance arrived and he found out there wasn't a diver with them, he braved the cold himself.
"I went in, yeah I went inside the car to see if anyone was inside of it." He said. "In a situation like that there's no time to think, you just have to do it."
Two times he searched and said he found no one.
On the sidewalk he said he saw "two people, two sets of footprints so now we know there was no one in the car."
He said it was still worth it to ensure no one was trapped inside. "You know I'm not going to let that car sit there with no one, not knowing no one was in it."
A San Diego City Lifeguard searched a wider area to see if anyone was ejected from the car and found nothing.
The car was dragged out of the bay, leaving some gasoline and oil in the water.
Koesterer said cars race down the road all the time and he hears them on Friday and Saturday night. He thinks that may have caused the crash.
This wasn't the first time Koesterer leapt to the rescue, in 2018 he and his crew were coming back from a fishing trip when they heard an explosion in international waters.
They found a fishing vessel on fire and a group of people two miles away struggling in the water.
He and his crew said some were very badly burned. During the rescue, they found out it was a human smuggling operation.
They said that didn't change their efforts, saying a life is a life. They saved 15 people that day. Three others didn't make it.
ABC 10News reached out to Harbor Police to ask if they found the driver of the car that plunged into the water and are waiting to hear back.