1. #1
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    Jul 2001

    Cool Water Rescue News

    Shallow dive kills visitor

    By Kevin Krause
    Staff Writer

    October 30, 2002

    BOCA RATON, FL · A man visiting from Puerto Rico died this weekend after he dove from a boat into shallow water in the Intracoastal Waterway, police said Tuesday.

    José Rafael Tirado, 40, was in a 25-foot Grady White boat with four friends at 3:50 p.m. Saturday in an area of the Intracoastal near the mouth of the Boca Inlet known as Lake Boca Raton, a police report said.

    Witnesses said Tirado dove into slightly more than 3 feet of water while the boat was anchored. George Martinez, 36, of Boca Raton told police he suggested they prepare to leave when Tirado said he wanted to dive in the water "one last time," the report said.

    Tirado stepped onto the port side gunwale near the rear of the boat and dove in, the report said. Juan Orozco said he saw Tirado float to the surface face down and thought he was "fooling around," police said.

    When Tirado began drifting south with the current about 20 feet behind the boat, Orozco jumped into the water to check on him and discovered he was unconscious, reports show. They called 911, while witnesses in a different boat flagged down a nearby Boca Raton Marine Patrol officer.

    The Marine Patrol officer said he approached the boat and saw Martinez and Orozco holding up Tirado, who was foaming at the mouth. His head was tilted slightly to the right, and his eyes were wide open, the police report said.

    Tirado was lifted into the officer's boat and taken to a dock, where Boca Raton Fire-Rescue paramedics discovered he was not breathing. He died soon after of an apparent broken neck, police said.

    Lt. Frank Montilli of Boca Raton Fire-Rescue said boaters like to congregate in the calm, shallow waters of Lake Boca, especially during rough seas, to anchor and relax in the waist-deep water.

    Montilli said they haven't had a lot of trouble there, but that it can be dangerous for those unfamiliar with the depths and tides. He said boaters can stop in a deep area and then drift over shallow water without knowing it.

    "They need to be cautious and check the depth before jumping in," he said.


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    Default A potential water rescue nightmare

    Mad scramble as officials chase 220 Haitians landing in Biscayne Bay

    October 30, 2002

    KEY BISCAYNE, FL -- A boat carrying at least 220 Haitians on board ran aground off Virginia Key on Tuesday with many passengers leaping off the bow, swimming ashore and swarming the Rickenbacker Causeway.

    The U.S. Coast Guard took 20 people out of the water and put them on a Coast Guard cutter.

    "It was jam-packed with people," Burns said. "It was an extremely dangerous situation."

    While abandoning the boat, some of the migrants lowered children into the arms of people waiting in the water.

    Burns said there were no immediate reports of deaths, although the Coast Guard and other agencies searched the water for anyone who might have gone under.

    The group varied in age. The youngest on board was about 18 months old and the older passengers appeared to be in their early 30s, said Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss.

    Miami-Dade Fire Rescue sent emergency personnel to evaluate the migrants.

    The Coast Guard came across the 50-foot wooden boat about 3:30 p.m. in Biscayne Bay, south of the Rickenbacker Causeway, said spokeswoman Anastasia Burns. Another Coast Guard vessel came to the scene so the crew could see how many people were on board, determine their medical situation and how safe the boat was. The boat eventually grounded around 4 p.m.

    "Thank God we're unaware any drownings have occurred." Goldman of the U.S. Coast Guard said.


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    Cool Deadliest Regatta on Record

    3 boaters dead in Columbus Day regatta-related crashes

    October 14, 2002, 1:20 PM EDT

    MIAMI, FL -- A body found Monday in Biscayne Bay was likely that of a man reported missing in one of two weekend crashes that killed two other boaters during a holiday regatta that drew thousands of rowdy participants, authorities said.

    In the first wreck, a boat was being towed by another vessel late Saturday when a third boat hit them both near the Rickenbacker Causeway, Coast Guard spokeswoman Anastasia Burns said. A man on the boat doing the towing died of severe trauma.

    Three other people injured in that crash were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, she said. Two were released; the third was still being treated Monday. None were immediately identified.

    Then at 9:20 Sunday morning, the Coast Guard received a report of a missing 28-foot go-fast boat. Antonio Enrique Lauria said he lent the boat to two friends around 6:30 p.m. Saturday to take from the Coconut Grove Marina in Miami south to the where the Columbus Day Regatta was overnighting off Elliott Key.

    Two kayakers spotted the boat later Sunday, lodged deep in a mangrove shoreline on the western side of the bay in southern Miami-Dade County near the old Burger King headquarters building off Eureka Drive in Biscayne National Park. One body was aboard but there was no sign of the second man, Burns said.

    The body of a man was found in the bay's water at 10:42 a.m. Monday about five miles north of the crash site in the mangroves, Burns said.

    ``There's a very strong probability that it was in fact the person that was missing,'' said Capt. Sam Cory of the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    Authorities haven't determined the cause of the crashes or if alcohol was involved, Cory said. The names of the victims weren't immediately released.

    The annual regatta attracted thousands of people who lined their boats up off Elliott Key to watch a boat race Saturday and Sunday. Many seem more interesting in partying than racing.

    By late Sunday, police had arrested 18 people for being under the influence while operating boats.


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    Default Man survives 20 hours afloat in Gulf

    Man Survives 20 Hours in Gulf Before Rescue
    The Associated Press
    Nov 7, 2002
    NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) - A fisherman whose small boat sunk in the Gulf of Mexico survived 20 hours in the water, clinging to a cooler lid while paddling safely about 20 miles to shore. Troy Bobko, 31, of North Port, took his 17-foot boat out on an early morning fishing trip Oct. 29 when it sprung a leak and sank, taking his life jacket down with it. He floated on a cooler lid and paddled to shore, occasionally blacking out. "I remember my body shaking, my knees were cut up, I almost couldn't see from all the salt water in my eyes," Bobko told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "It felt like broken glass in my eyes every time I blinked." He said he hardly realized when he reached shallow water. "I felt something hit my foot and I tried to kick it away before I realized it was the ground," Bobko said. He walked to a nearby house and asked them to call the police. AP-ES-11-07-02 2228EST

    This story can be found at: http://ap.tbo.com/ap/florida/MGA7ZLYJ98D.html

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    Default Divers Search for Jet Skier

    Searchers Try to Find Boy Involved in Jet Ski Crash
    The Associated Press
    Published: Nov 18, 2002

    LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - A 15-year-old Lakeland boy disappeared in the waters of Lake Gibson after his personal watercraft collided with a friend's jet ski, officials said.
    Brad Hicks disappeared around 2 p.m. Sunday, after apparently turning into the path of the watercraft operated by David Norwood, 13, of Plant City. Norwood hit the side of Hicks' watercraft, and both boys fell into the water. Norwood was able to swim ashore. Hicks' father, Daryl Hicks, had brought the boys to the lake minutes earlier and was standing nearby when the mishap occurred. Daryl Hicks dove into the water, but was unable to find his son. Neither boy wore a life vest, Polk County sheriff's spokesman Scott Wilder said. Search efforts would continue through the night, Wilder said. About 60 people from Calvary Baptist Church, where Brad Hicks' parents worship, held a vigil Sunday night near the boat ramp, surrounding the boy's mother, Brenda.
    Story from http://ap.tbo.com/ap/florida/MGAQ70L7O8D.html

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    Default 2 Brothers drown in backyard pond 3rd survives - MN

    Pond plunge kills Anoka County brothers
    Jim Adams
    Star Tribune

    Published Nov. 20, 2002

    When Marie Ostendorf noticed her three young sons were missing, she and neighbors searched the property for them and she eventually drove a car down to the pond. With the headlights focused on the pond, Ostendorf spotted 2-year-old Mark, pulled him from the pond and began CPR.

    Today, as neighbors described what had happened Tuesday night, Mark was listed in critical condition at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.

    While Ostendorf was tending to Mark, neighbor boy Mike Day waited at the front of the family's property in the 5400 block of 199th Av. NW. in Burns Township. He directed rescue workers over a berm and behind the house to the pond, neighbors said. St. Francis police, Anoka County sheriff's deputies and other emergency workers pulled Mark's 5- and 6-year-old boys from the pond and tried to save them. But Cody, 6, and Shawn, 5, died after being taken to hospitals.

    Mary Green, who lives on a farm across the street from the Ostendorfs, said that she and her family prayed the rosary Tuesday for their neighbors and are crushed by the tragedy. One of Green's daughters has babysat for the Ostendorf boys, who would also come over to visit.

    "When they come here, they go in four different directions," she said. Marie and Ron Ostendorf's older son, an 8-year-old, stayed with the Greens on Tuesday night while the parents were at the hospitals with the three youngest.

    The Ostendorfs dug out the pond on their property. Many homes in the area have such ponds because the water table is high. The ponds allow water to pool in one spot and reduce the marshy land, neighbor Jim Day said.

    Shawn was in kindergarten and Cody in first grade at St. Francis Elementary School, where a social worker was available to talk with people about the tragedy. Principal Kathy Kohnen said the boys' older brother, who is in third grade this year, often watched out for Shawn and Cody.

    -- Jim Adams is at jadams@startribune.com.

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    Default Mother and son survive plunge

    Mother thanks 'wingless angels' for brave rescue

    Richard Foot
    National Post

    Thursday, November 21, 2002

    HALIFAX - It seems extraordinary that four-year-old Evan Grace is
    alive. Yet today he lies in a Halifax hospital -- breathing on his
    own, his eyes wide open -- with Shelley Yates, his mother, sitting at
    his side.

    Mrs. Yates and her son owe their lives to good fortune and the
    courage of strangers who launched a daring rescue after their car
    flipped off a Nova Scotia highway last week and sank nose-first into
    a flooded, roadside swamp.

    "The cold water took me fast," she said. "I felt myself slipping
    away ... My last thoughts were to miraculously find my sweet baby so
    we could at least die together."

    Yesterday, Mrs. Yates made her first public comments about the rescue.

    In a letter published in two Halifax newspapers, she thanked the
    dozens of city residents who helped bring her son back to life -- in
    particular the "wingless angels," as she called them, who found the
    sinking car and "pulled us from death's clutches."

    Mark Hoadley is one of those "angels." Yesterday, he said in an
    interview that he and his friends are not heroes, just ordinary
    people who reacted, "one hopes, like anyone else would," after
    stumbling upon calamity.

    Mrs. Yates, 37, was driving with her son last Thursday on a two-lane
    highway on the outskirts of Halifax. Days of torrential rains had
    soaked the city and flooded the large ponds on each side of the
    highway, one of which was pouring across the road. When Mrs. Yates'
    Ford Taurus hit the shallow flood, it hydroplaned into the guardrail
    and off the highway, landing upside down on the surface of the pond.

    The mother began to panic, however, when she realized her car was
    sinking in the pond. Water was rushing in and neither her doors nor
    her windows would open because the electrical accessories had short-

    As Mrs. Yates prepared to die, Mr. Hoadley sped past in his pickup.
    The co-owner of a construction business, he spotted two friends --
    Paddy Hilchie, his business partner, and Jeff Winters, a Halifax
    police officer -- driving in the other direction. He called Mr.
    Hilchie on his cellphone to say hello.

    Their conversation had barely started when Mr. Hoadley noticed the
    sinking car, told his buddies what he had seen, and hung up to call
    for help on the 911 emergency line. Mr. Hilchie and Mr. Winters
    turned around and met Mr. Hoadley on the roadside overlooking the

    Mr. Winters, a paramedic, stayed on shore while his friends, who are
    in their 40s, swam into almost three metres of frigid water. With Mr.
    Hilchie helping his buddy from the surface, Mr. Hoadley dove to see
    what he could find. After several attempts he managed to open the
    driver's door and came face to face with an unconscious Mrs. Yates,
    strapped into her seat with the seat belt jammed.

    A crowd was gathering on shore. One man threw Mr. Hoadley a
    pocketknife to cut the seat belt. Taking a deep breath, Mr. Hoadley
    dove back down, his feet hooked into the seat belt for purchase.
    Before he began cutting, the belt somehow popped open.

    "So I went back up for air and went down again and basically grabbed
    her by the hair and jacket and pulled her up and gave her to Paddy,"
    Mr. Hoadley said.

    The men carried a lifeless Mrs. Yates to shore, where Mr. Winters
    began resuscitation efforts. Mr. Hoadley and another man returned to
    the water to search for others in the submerged car. They found no
    one, but before they could climb out of the pond, Mrs. Yates came to

    "Do you have my baby," she asked.

    "Jeff hollered out, 'There's a baby in the car,' " Mr. Hoadley
    said. "At that point, all hell broke loose for us. We tried
    everything we could to find him but the water was so murky we just
    couldn't see anything."

    Someone on shore had summoned a boom truck from a nearby industrial
    yard. The truck arrived, hooked on to the car and raised it from the
    pond. Little Evan, whose mother had released him from his car seat,
    had become wedged in the shelf between the rear seats and the rear
    window. As the water rushed out of the vehicle, he came flying out.

    He and his mother were taken to hospital as were Mr. Hoadley and Mr.
    Hilchie, both suffering from hypothermia.

    Mr. Hoadley said he cannot understand how Evan survived. He believes
    the little boy was under water for 15 to 20 minutes before being

    "We did everything we could to help and I'm proud of that. But we're
    not heroes," Mr. Hoadley said. "That little fella, coming back from
    what he's been through -- he's the hero."

    Evan's condition was upgraded to fair from critical
    yesterday. "There's no brain damage.... He's up and around," RCMP
    spokesman Peter Marshall said.


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    Cool Two men honored for successful rescue

    Two men are honored for rescue of teenager

    By Nicole T. Lesson
    Staff Writer

    December 1, 2002

    PEMBROKE PINES,FL · Two men who see each other most weekdays never thought they would work together to save someone's life.

    Luis Albaladejo, a senior lifeguard at the Pembroke Pines Academic Village pool, and Jonathan Hartwell, a member of the city's Comets Swim Team that is based at the pool, joined forces to save a 13-year-old boy from drowning.

    The two rescuers were honored by the Pembroke Pines Fire Department at a recent City Commission meeting.

    During an afternoon swimming workout in September, the victim, a member of the city's swim team, stopped short of finishing a swimming lap in the pool. Other members of the swim team then saw that the boy was under water and not moving.

    Hartwell, who was in the pool, swam toward the victim and pulled him up. Albaladejo then jumped in and helped Hartwell bring the boy to the pool deck, where he checked his pulse and found he had one. But the boy was not breathing, so the lifeguard started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

    After three or fourth breaths, the boy started breathing on his own. The Pembroke Pines Fire Department responded and took him to a nearby hospital, where he was released after observation.

    The boy, now 14, has returned to the swim team. It is not known what caused the emergency, but the two rescuers and others speculated that the victim overexerted himself while swimming.

    Albaladejo, of Davie, and Hartwell, a Miramar resident, were presented with a plaque of recognition for their life-saving efforts by Assistant Fire Chief Dave Donzella.

    "With our awards program, we outwardly recognize our own employees and residents that help make the community a safer place to live," Donzella said. "What they did, 100 percent, saved his life."

    Both rescuers were humbled by being honored.

    "It was nice to be recognized, but I was just doing my job," said Albaladejo, who noted that the rescued youngster is "doing great.''

    "I am so glad he wanted to actually continue swimming, and he's been swimming fast,'' the lifeguard said.

    As a former lifeguard, Hartwell did not hesitate when he saw the victim not moving.

    "I appreciate [the honor], but I was always taught to do that," Hartwell said. "It comes as second nature. I grew up in Scouting and have always been taught to help people."

    Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


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    Cool 18-wheeler plunges into canal

    Big Rig Plunges Off I-95 Into Canal

    December 6, 2002

    Brevard County, FL - A semitrailer went plunging off Interstate 95 into deep water Friday morning, carrying its driver with it.

    The accident happened at the C-54 Canal in south Brevard County, WESH NewsChannel 2 reported.

    The tractor-trailer went to the bottom, and there was no sign of it, but the driver survived, officials said.

    The 18-wheeler appeared to veer off the highway just as it was reaching the bridge, and went up onto the barrier along the edge of the bridge and slid almost halfway across before toppling off, troopers said.

    The driver did not know how to swim, but a witness, Mort Alkhatime, said he learned fast.

    "I parked my car and started looking. The truck was submerged underwater, and suddenly I saw the guy coming up. Luckily, he was the only one in the truck," Alkhatime said.

    A similar accident happened three years ago at the canal. In that one, the driver was killed, and it took three days to get the big rig out of the water.

    Story from http://www.newschannel2000.com/

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    Default Rescue divers pull girl from van at bottom of canal


    Girl Critical After Car Plunges Into Canal

    Victim Was Celebrating Her Birthday

    December 16, 2002

    MIAMI SPRINGS, Fla. -- A 12-year-old girl is in critical condition after getting trapped in a car underwater. The crash happened Saturday night in Miami Springs as the girl celebrated her birthday. Investigators said the girl was caught in her seat belt when her mother's van plunged into a canal. Rescuers pulled the girl out several minutes later, and took her to Miami Children's Hospital.
    Her mother was not injured.

  11. #11
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    Default Vehicle plunges into canal, driver dies 12-28-02


    Driver, trapped in canal, dies

    By Will Vash, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, December 28, 2002

    FORT PIERCE, FL -- A Kansas woman traveling with her family for the holiday died Thursday when she was trapped in a van that careened into a canal along Florida's Turnpike just south of the Indian River County line.
    Sherry Kaplan, 45, of Leawood, Kan., her husband, and their three children were heading to Delray Beach following a day at a water park when the crash occurred, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
    Kaplan was driving south in a 2003 Chevrolet Venture in the inside lane at 6:22 p.m. when the van drifted onto the shoulder, then swerved to the right and overturned in the canal, troopers said.
    David Kaplan, 52, and the couple's three children, Danielle, 13, Benjamin, 16, and Matthew, 10, managed to scramble out of the van and received only minor injuries. But Sherry Kaplan was stuck behind the wheel of the submerged van, according to the report.
    David Kaplan and about eight motorists worked to free her, Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Pat Santangelo said.
    "The husband was doing CPR on her as we arrived," said St. Lucie County Fire District spokesman Tom Whitley. Sherry Kaplan died a short time later at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, the report said.
    David Kaplan and the children were treated and released from Lawnwood. The accident remained under investigation Friday, Santangelo said.

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    Default 3 recovered, 4th missing in boating accident

    Dec 30, 2002

    Bodies of Three Fishermen Found; Fourth Still Missing

    The Associated Press

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The bodies of three men who went fishing Saturday and never returned have apparently been recovered, while the search for the fourth missing man has been called off, officials said. None of the bodies were positively identified by the Manatee County medical examiner's office on Sunday. The bodies were found about 17 miles southwest of Egmont Key in the chilly Gulf of Mexico waters, all within two miles of a partially submerged boat, officials said. Friends and family members said Jesus Gonzalez, 37, took his three closest friends - Leo Moreira, 24; Juan Carlo Abad, 42; and Marino Gomez, 47 - fishing around 8 a.m. Saturday. Gonzalez told his wife they would be gone for only a couple hours. The boat was spotted around noon Sunday, Coast Guard officials said. Water temperatures in the area hovered in the upper 50s, meaning the men probably could only have survived for about six hours before succumbing to hypothermia. None of the men were wearing life jackets and the boat did not have a radio, officials said. The boat was being towed to shore late Sunday night so it could be examined by investigators. The men all lived in the same area of west Tampa and worked together at American Commercial Truck Equipment in Oldsmar, friends and family said. Gonzalez, whose birthday was Saturday, had bought the boat as an early present, his family said. He had owned several other boats, but was relatively inexperienced as a boat operator, said Faustino Dominguez Jr., the nephew of Marino Gomez. Autopsies on the recovered bodies are scheduled to be performed on Monday. It could not be determined early Monday which of the four bodies had not been recovered.
    AP-ES-12-30-02 0426EST
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Tourist boat with 29 aboard sinks in Florida


    Tour Boat Sinks Off Everglades Park
    Officials: 29 Passengers Aboard Rescued

    December 31, 2002

    EVERGLADES CITY, Fla. -- A tour boat with at least 29 people aboard sank in
    shallow water Monday on the fringe of Everglades National Park, but there
    were no deaths or serious injuries, officials said. The open, single hull
    boat, 30 to 40 feet long, sank in clear weather south of Everglades City,
    which is on the Gulf of Mexico just outside the park in southwestern Florida.
    Rick Cook, spokesman for the national park, said it wasn't immediately clear
    why the boat went down. The boat sank in a navigation channel between
    Everglades City and Chockoloskee Bay, Cook said. The distress call came at
    about 2:45 p.m. EST. Paramedics checked those rescued when they were brought
    back to the park visitor center at Everglades City. Cook said he didn't know
    the exact number of people on board, but said the boat can hold up to 36. A
    firefighter at the Everglades City fire station said 29 people were aboard.
    Both said everyone was rescued and accounted for. "The rangers were there
    with their own patrol boats and people were gotten out as quickly as
    possible," Cook said. He said one elderly lady "seemed to be distressed" and
    was sent to a hospital. He said he did not have the woman's name, or which
    hospital she was taken to. At the nearest hospital, Naples Community
    Hospital, a woman at the emergency room said she was not aware of such a
    patient. Cook also said some people suffered "minor lacerations resulting
    from boarding our boats" but said he wasn't aware of any injuries beyond
    that. Park rangers tied the swamped boat to mangroves on a nearby island to
    keep it from drifting. The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety
    Board were expected to investigate, Cook said
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Boat sinking investigated - no deaths reported


    Agencies investigate sinking of tourist boat

    Associated Press
    December 31, 2002

    EVERGLADES CITY, Fla. - The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board today are investigating the events that led to the sinking of a tour boat near Everglades National Park.The boat with at least 29 people aboard sank in shallow water Monday on the fringe of the park, but there were no deaths or serious injuries, officials said.
    The open, single hull boat, 30 to 40 feet long, sank in clear weather south of Everglades City, which is on the Gulf of Mexico just outside the park in southwestern Florida. Rick Cook, spokesman for the national park, said it wasn't immediately clear why the boat went down.
    The boat sank in a navigation channel between Everglades City and Chockoloskee Bay, Cook said. The distress call came at about 2:45 p.m. EST. Paramedics checked those rescued when they were brought back to the park visitor center at Everglades City. Cook said he didn't know the exact number of people on board, but said the boat can hold up to 36.
    A firefighter at the Everglades City fire station said 29 people were aboard. Both said everyone was rescued and accounted for. "The rangers were there with their own patrol boats and people were gotten out as quickly as possible," Cook said. He said one elderly lady "seemed to be distressed" and was sent to a hospital. Cook also said some people suffered "minor lacerations resulting from boarding our boats" but said he wasn't aware of any injuries beyond that.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Car plunges into river - 1 dead, 1 missing, 3 survive, TX


    One dead after car plunges in Colorado River

    12/31/2002 10:25:46 PM
    By: News 8 Austin Staff

    Dive crews search the river.
    One person is confirmed dead in Tuesday night's accident involving a car that drove off Caldwell Lane and into the Colorado river.
    Around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday the Austin Fire Department responded with dive teams to a water rescue in the Colorado River in Eastern Travis County.
    Divers recovered the vehicle and are still searching for one other missing person. Authorities say speed and alcohol may have been factors in the accident.
    Three of the five people in the car escaped and survived. They were taken to Brackenridge Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. They are believed to be in their 20's.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Woman rescue from flood swollen stream


    Woman rescued after her car is swept into a swollen stream

    By Christine Vovakes --
    Thursday, January 2, 2003

    CHICO -- A 34-year-old Nevada woman who tried to cross a flooded road west of Chico and was swept downstream Wednesday was able to cling to her swamped car until two firefighters swam to her rescue, officials said.Kathleen Allen attempted to drive across a portion of Ord Ferry Road that was flooded by tributaries of the nearby Sacramento River and posted with warning signs. Her small sedan began to float and then was swept into the swift, rain-swollen current, according to Capt. Rob Sonstang of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection/Butte County Fire and Rescue.

    "The car was washed about 30 feet off the road and into the current," he said. "It floated downstream and caught on a felled oak tree."Allen opened her window and managed to crawl out."She was clinging to the side of her car," Sonstang said. "Only about 1 1/2 feet of her vehicle was sticking out of the water."Sonstang, a swift-water rescue instructor, and Scott Gutierrez were in the first fire truck to respond to the 9 a.m. incident, which was witnessed by several people and prompted numerous calls to emergency dispatch.They donned their rescue gear and life vests and slipped into the chilly water."We were about 75 to 100 feet away from her," Sonstang said.As they swam toward her, they encountered numerous obstacles, including barbed wire. They reached her in a spot where the water was about 4 to 5 feet deep."She was fully clothed. Her coat probably weighed an extra 20 pounds because it was full of water," Sonstang said. "We took the coat off, put a life vest on her and pulled her on top of the vehicle."After checking Allen's condition, they slid back into the water with her and swam a short distance to rescue workers who were waiting downstream to help them onto dry ground.Allen was taken to Enloe Medical Center in Chico, treated for hypothermia and released.A California Highway Patrol spokesman said Allen was cited for disregarding a "road closed" sign.Ord Ferry Road has numerous signs warning motorists not to drive through it when flooded, said CDF/Butte County Fire spokeswoman Janet Marshall."There are several dips in the road," she said. "It goes up and down like a roller coaster."Recent heavy rains have resulted in swollen creeks that thread through Butte County, flooding many rural roads.Marshall urged motorists to use extreme caution when encountering any roadway covered with water.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Jetskier suffers broken leg

    Story from http://www.sun-herald.com/

    Englewood man hurt in personal watercraft wreck

    ENGLEWOOD, Fla -- A 45-year-old man was flown to Lee Memorial Hospital Wednesday afternoon after falling off his personal watercraft vehicle and spending nearly 40 minutes in Lemon Bay, authorities said. Dee Hawkins, Charlotte County Fire and EMS spokeswoman, said bystanders plucked the man out of the water around 3:15 p.m. and took him to Stump Pass State Park where he was treated by paramedics. Emergency officials did not release the man's name. He suffered a fractured thigh bone and had border-line hypothermia, Hawkins said. But the cause of the accident was unknown. "From what I understand the Jet Ski flipped," Hawkins said. "I don't know why it flipped. There were no other watercraft involved. The bystanders were very helpful." Hawkins said the accident occurred near Stump Pass. Englewood Area Fire Control District firefighter Pat Carter said rough seas may have played a part in the man's fall. Carter said a Charlotte County Sheriff's boat was already in the water and able to assist paramedics. He said an ambulance took the man to the Stump Pass Marina on County Road 775 where a Bay Flite rescue helicopter picked him up. But Carter said it was the Sheriff's Office quick marine response that played a large part in the man's rescue. "Our response time in a boat probably would have been at least 30 minutes," Carter said. "As it was, it probably took us six to eight minutes."
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Man killed after SUV crashes into canal


    Man killed after SUV crashes into canal

    January 21, 2003
    Davie, FL -- A 36-year-old Weston man was killed Monday when the SUV he was driving flew off Interstate75 and plowed into a shallow canal.

    Witnesses told state troopers that the SUV driven by Kendrick Dennis was headed northbound just north of Arvida Parkway at about 6:20 p.m. They said the white Land Rover Discovery had been going at least 60 mph for at least 20 seconds before it jerked right, crossed all four lanes of the northboard traffic and went more than 100 yards off the road. The SUV went airborn briefly before slamming into the far side of the canal and rolling into the water.

    One onlooker climbed into the canal to try and keep Dennis' head above the water. Davie Fire Rescue personnel pulled out the driver in 10 to 12 minutes and started CPR, but were unable to revive him.

    Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Stephanie Redding said the cause of the accident had not been immediately determined.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Father, son survive 30-foot plunge off Bridge in SUV


    Father, son survive 30-foot plunge off Sunshine Skyway Bridge in SUV

    January 31, 2003
    The Associated Press

    Tampa, Fla- A father and son survived a 30-foot fall into Tampa Bay after the SUV they were in flipped several times and careened off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

    Robert Ovens, 45, and his son Hunter, 14, were headed south to their Bradenton home at about 8 p.m. Thursday when the 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe went out of control and flipped several times, said Lt. Rick Feinberg, a St. Petersburg Fire Rescue spokesman.

    The Tahoe rode atop a 3-tall concrete barrier before falling into the bay, Feinberg said. The Ovens were wearing their seat belts and managed to exit the SUV soon after they hit water, but the elder Ovens got hurt in the fall. His son kept him afloat in the 15-foot waters and helped him get to one of the bridge's pillars, Feinberg said.

    "He saved his father's life," he said.

    The teen and his father held on to a garden hose lowered by a passing motorist above while they waited for firefighters to rappel down to them.

    Robert Ovens hurt his left shoulder, upper left thigh and pelvis in the fall. His son was not injured, Feinberg said.

    The Sunshine Skyway links St. Petersburg in Pinellas County in the north to Manatee County in the south and spans the mouth of Tampa Bay.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Passers-by in Pompano save woman from sinking car


    Passers-by in Pompano save woman from sinking car

    By Robert Nolin
    Staff Writer

    February 5, 2003

    POMPANO BEACH, FL · What would have been another canal drowning Monday afternoon instead became a heroic rescue after six passers-by snatched a woman from a sinking car and, one firefighter said, certain death.

    The 83-year-old woman, whose identity was not available, was driving near her condo in the 2800 block of Palm Aire Drive South in Pompano Beach around 5 p.m. when she suddenly wheeled her Toyota Camry into a deep canal near a curve, Pompano Beach Fire-Rescue spokesman Ted Martin said.

    Robin Gorsky, driving by, saw the accident and clambered down the embankment. She quickly waved down Felix Singletary, an AT&T cable technician searching for an address. The woman's car was fast disappearing. "They could hear the lady screaming," Martin said.

    Singletary flagged down three men in a passing van -- Rivaldo Germano Guemano, Fabian Ramirez and Aldo Walter Silveira, all of Fort Lauderdale -- and the group jumped into the water and tried to pull the car door open.

    Canal water made that impossible. The car continued to sink until its interior was full.

    "You couldn't even see anybody in the car," Singletary said. "Time was going by so quick, in a blur."

    A sixth man, Tommy Silichein, pulled over and dove in with the others. Once the water pressure in the car became equal, the six were able to heave open a door and pull the woman to safety.

    "They truly saved her life," Martin said. "This was a definite save. She was going under."

    The woman, with no obvious injuries, was taken to North Ridge Medical Center in Oakland Park for evaluation.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Three perish when van goes into canal



    Three sugar-cane field workers perish when van goes into canal

    By Kevin Krause
    Staff Writer

    February 5, 2003

    Three farmworkers heading to sugar-cane fields near Belle Glade on Tuesday
    were killed in a foggy, predawn accident when their van flipped into a canal,
    state troopers said.

    Jesus Mendez, 34, of Pahokee, Jorge Vasques, 44, of Clewiston and Juan
    Contreras, 46, of Pahokee died at the scene. Three others inside the van

    The six men, three of whom were related, were westbound on a dirt road when
    their 1998 van veered off the road 16 miles east of Belle Glade and went into
    the canal at 5:45 a.m., said Lt. Pembrook Burrows of the Florida Highway

    Although the exact cause is unknown, rescue workers suspect that the
    darkness, dense fog and smoke from burning sugar cane fields nearby
    contributed to the accident, as well as two chain-reaction crashes 100 feet
    away on Southern Boulevard about a mile east of U.S. Highway 98.

    Only minor injuries were reported in the other crashes, which involved a milk
    truck, a molasses tanker and a tractor-trailer. The pileups and resulting
    fuel spills shut down Southern Boulevard for about seven hours.

    "The fog was so thick, you could barely see two feet in front of your
    vehicle," said Sean Pamplona, spokesman for Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue.
    Firefighters and paramedics headed to the crashes were issued a safety alert
    due to the bad visibility.

    When the van skidded into the West Palm Beach Canal, two of the men managed
    to get out and flagged down a pickup truck that was behind them, Burrows
    said. They then got another man out of the submerged van. Using a chain, the
    pickup truck pulled the van out of the water. Two bodies were inside the van,
    and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office divers found the third victim in the
    canal, according to FHP.

    The driver, Miguel Contreras, 46, was taken to Palms West Medical Center with
    minor injuries, along with passengers Carlos Contreras, 25, and Jamie Santan,
    29, all of whom live in Pahokee, reports show.

    The accident remains under investigation and FHP will turn its findings over
    to the State Attorney's Office.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Man Dies After Being Trapped In Submerged Bobcat

    Man Dies After Being Trapped In Bobcat Tractor
    Tractor Becomes Submerged

    February 6, 2003
    A man in Volusia County, Fla., who became trapped in a submerged Bobcat tractor Thursday died after rescue workers were unable to reach him in time, according to Local 6 News.
    Authorities said that the enclosed tractor somehow became submerged in water near Deleon Springs in Western Volusia County.

    Local 6 News reported that the man was trapped underwater for an unknown amount of time but was extricated from the machine and taken to shore by emergency workers.

    Police are investigating how the piece of machinery became submerged.

    Watch Local 6 News for the latest on this breaking news story.

    Story from http://www.local6.com/
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Man dies as powerboat burns


    Man dies as powerboat burns off Lake Worth

    By Nancy L. Othón
    Staff Writer

    February 12, 2003

    Lake Worth, Fla -- A part-time Palm Beach County resident apparently drowned Tuesday after he either jumped or was thrown from a 25-foot powerboat that caught fire one mile east of the Lake Worth Pier, officials said.

    Thomas Hypio, 74, who split his time between Michigan and West Palm Beach, was trying to fix the boat's engine when there was some sort of fire or explosion about 11:30 a.m., said Jim Huffstodt, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is investigating the accident.

    Two other men aboard the boat were not injured, Huffstodt said. An autopsy was to be performed to determine the cause of Hypio's death.

    A good Samaritan in the area reported the vessel on fire to the Coast Guard, and a boat from Sea Tow that was already in the Boynton Beach area raced to the scene, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Anastasia Burns.

    "As soon as the mayday call came in, our captain ran," said Amy Tolderlund, office manager for Sea Tow Palm Beach. "It could have been an explosion. I don't know. It was something that happened very suddenly."

    Sea Tow arrived in seven minutes, and the fire on the boat was out, but one man was unconscious in the water, Tolderlund said. The person who reported the accident, whose name was not released, helped drag Hypio onto the Sea Tow boat.

    Lifeguards with Palm Beach County Ocean Rescue, who were monitoring radio traffic, set out in an inflatable rescue boat and met Sea Tow halfway, said Don May, beach safety supervisor.

    The Sea Tow captain "was frantically pointing in the back of his boat, and he had a man in the back boat," May said. "He was not breathing. There was no heartbeat and there seemed to be evidence of burn marks on the body."

    An Ocean Rescue lifeguard began performing CPR as the boat headed to the Boynton Beach boat ramp on Federal Highway near Gateway Boulevard.

    Boynton Beach Fire Rescue took Hypio to Bethesda Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    The damaged boat was taken to the Palm Beach Yacht Center forso Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators could examine.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Panic deadly when cars go under


    Panic deadly when cars go under

    Cara Jones

    Jan. 29, 2003
    LEE COUNTY, Fla.— Three accidents in the past week have all ended tragically with drivers unable to escape as their cars sank in local waters.
    Tuesday, a 30-year-old man was killed when his pickup truck suddenly veered off the road and into a canal. Authorities believe he drowned.
    Monday, also in Cape Coral, a 68-year-old man drowned after he drove into the path of a pickup truck, and the impact sent his car into a nearby canal.
    Thursday, in south Fort Myers, a 67-year-old woman drowned when her car blew a tire and veered into a retention pond.
    Law enforcement officers say panic is the number one mistake people make when they hit the water, and there are a few things drivers can do in the two to three minutes before their car is submerged that might just save their life.
    Many cars get submerged in waters many could actually stand in. But when panic sets in, that two to three minute reaction time is lost. By the time emergency crews respond, it’s usually too late.
    "It’s discouraging for us," said Ryan Bell of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. "The panic sets in and people do what comes natural. Eventually the stress sets in and it leads to their demise."
    So what do you do to get out alive?
    The first thing is to make sure you have your seat belt on – that way you can stay strapped in and avoid getting injured.
    Experts say that when you hit water, you also want to make sure to keep your car running – believe it or not your cars power windows should work underwater.
    "A lot of people, when the water starts setting in, they put the car in park and turn the car off," Bell said.
    Once the car starts sinking, experts say you'll have two to three minutes before its submerged. If you can't roll down a window, you'll want to get a simple window smasher or emergency hammer.
    You can buy a device as small as a key chain that has a razor on it to cut the seatbelt. It also has a window breaker. You just put it up to a window and it will smash in a instant. If all else fails, your car windshield is designed to pop out – you can even do that with your feet.
    If you can't break free, wait for the water to fill the car. Once the pressure equalizes, your door should open. The most important thing to remember is do not panic – because there is almost always some way out.
    One type of device, called Res-Q-Me, can be bought over the Internet or at many hardware stores. You can also keep a simple hammer or screwdriver handy to do the trick.
    Just to give a sense of that two to three minute reaction time, it’s likely longer than it took you to read this story.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Man trapped when bulldozer rolls into lake


    Worker killed after small bulldozer rolls into Miramar lake

    By Vicky Agnew
    Staff Writer

    February 13, 2003

    MIRAMAR · A 42-year-old Miami man died Wednesday when the small bulldozer he was operating at a construction site tumbled into a lake and trapped him beneath the water.

    Police said Francel Pedilus, of 4720 NE Miami Place, was trapped underwater for at least 30 minutes before rescue divers pulled him out.

    He was airlifted to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, where he was pronounced dead, Miramar Police spokesman Bill Robertson said.

    Pedilus was an equipment operator for Watson Trucking and Equipment Rental in Sunrise. He had been with company for six years and was a "great employee," said John Watson, the company's owner.

    "He was a nice, happy-go-lucky guy trying to get ahead in the world like everybody else," Watson said. "It's just one of those things. You don't know how or why it happens, it just happens."

    Watson would not comment on the accident and said Pedilus had not been involved in any others with the company.

    The accident happened about 8:30 a.m. at the Isles at Sunset Lake along the 18500 block of Southwest 50th Court.

    Pedilus was operating a Bobcat front-end loader and had driven into a manmade lake about eight feet from the shore to rinse the bucket. When he turned right to leave the lake, the Bobcat turned over and rolled into the lake, sinking at least 30 feet to the bottom, Robertson said.

    The first officer on the scene dived into the water but couldn't find the Bobcat.

    Two fire-rescue divers then found Pedilus still in the Bobcat's cab. He had managed to unbuckle his seat belt and lift the protection bar but was unable to escape the cab, Robertson said.

    Prince Smith, 46, a construction worker at the site, saw Pedilus roll into the water. Smith said he called 911 while another worker went in after Pedilus but was unable to reach him.

    "I think the only mistake there was that he should have backed out," Smith said. "You have to think about where you are at all times. We're out here every day and you just never know."

    An investigator from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Fort Lauderdale office visited the site after the accident. The investigation could take several months, said OSHA Area Director Luis Santiago.

    The Miramar accident was similar to one in December in which a 66-year-old bulldozer operator working in Weston at the edge of a rock pit rolled his machine into the water and was pinned on the bottom. OSHA's investigation into that accident continues, Santiago said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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