A couple in New Zealand almost died after spending 13 hours locked inside their new car last month. Now they are speaking out about their ordeal to try and prevent other older drivers from suffering the same fate.
On the evening of November 5, Mollieanne, 65, and Brian Smith, 68, were in their keyless Mazda3 hatchback when they realized they had left their transponder key fob outside of the car. They didn't think the car could be unlocked without the fob. They also left the car's manual in the house.
They told the Otago Times that stress, the lateness of the hour and lack of information from the salesperson all contributed to trapping them in their new car for 13 hours.
Blaring the horn didn't help because of the fireworks from Guy Fawkes night. They also attempted to smash the window with a car jack, but it was no use.
The couple were freed at 7:45am the next morning by a neighbor. By then, Mollieanne was unconscious and her husband was having difficulty breathing. Attending physicians at the emergency room later told the couple that another half hour trapped inside could have killed them.
Brian had methodically checked for a way out of the car, but thought the only way to unlock the doors was with the key fob.
''Once I found out how simple it was to unlock it I kicked myself that I did not find the way out ... I had this mind-set that I did not have the transponder [so I could not get out]," Brian Smith told the Times.
Since going public the couple have heard from five other older car owners who have had similar experiences. The Mazda dealership the Smiths bought the car from told the Otago Times they will strive to better explain new technologies to older customers in the future.