Man drowns trying to save passengers after car wreck
An 18-year-old man trying to rescue three passengers in the car he was driving after the vehicle plunged into the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in Middletown, Delaware, police said Sunday.
Two of the three passengers could not escape the vehicle, one got to shore with the driver’s help, and a fourth remained missing Sunday night.
Police got the 911 call at 9:41 a.m. Sunday from a bystander who saw the Chevy HHR plunge into the water, according to a statement. Police, fire and EMS descended on the scene about 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, authorities said. The canal, flanked on steep embankments, is about 35 feet deep, the Delaware News Journal noted.
“The first responding units located a 16-year-old female on the canal banks who was confirmed to have been a passenger in the vehicle, but had been able to exit the vehicle and make her way to shore,” police said.
“It would later be determined that she was assisted to shore by the 18-year-old male driver of the vehicle, who then reentered the water in an attempt to rescue three remaining passengers.”
The 18-year-old did not make it, police said. They recovered his body from the water shortly after. Two of the three other passengers were boys of 16, 12 and 6 years old. Just before 5 p.m. the vehicle was retrieved from the water, and the 12- and 16-year-old boys were inside, deceased, police said.
Investigation and search are 'active and ongoing'
“The 6 year old was not located in the vehicle and remains unaccounted for,” police said.
The investigation and search are “active and ongoing,” the police statement said, appealing to the public for information.
Meanwhile, authorities hailed the actions of the 18-year-old driver.
“He was a hero and tried to do everything he could to help the remaining passengers in that vehicle,” Delaware State Police spokesman Master Cpl. Michael Austin told NBC News. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to a family whose lives were changed forever today, unfortunately.”