400 deaths occur annually from submerged cars

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Each year, around 400 suffer wrongful death when they are trapped in a vehicle that crashes into a body of water.

On the evening of December 1st, Trevor Connor of Columbus, Ohio, died after his car crashed into a pond at the Bent Tree Luxury Apartments near the corner of Snouffer Road and Bent Tree Road.  A witness dove into the water in an effort to release Connor from the sinking car, but the glass would not break.  According to the Columbus Fire Department, windows are virtually impossible to break and water pressure frequently jams doors shut.

“There’s a really short window when doors can be opened.  Get the windows open,” said firefighter Lt. Dan Bristle. “You can get out. Cars float from up to 30 seconds to two minutes.”

Columbus Fire Department’s Water Rescue Team advises drivers and occupants of submerged vehicles to remain calm.  The first thing to do is to open the window to allow rescuers a way in and to allow a way to escape.  Divers also suggest immediately unbuckling seatbelts and/or safety harnesses.

“With panic setting in, you might forget that step to undo your seatbelt and you’re trying to escape but can’t and you don’t know why.”

If the window will not roll down, firefighters say that the best chance to escape may be to wait for water pressure to equalize inside and outside the car, take a deep breath and open the door.

On October 26, Denise Damon died after her car went off the road and into a pond on Columbus’ East Side and in February 2011, Shennell Mallory and her 4 year old daughter drowned when their vehicle went into an apartment complex pond. Mallory’s 15 month-old-nephew, Zemarr Mallory, was also a passenger in the car, but survived with serious injuries.

For more information, contact the Ohio wrongful death lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List.

Source: WTTE Fox 28, “Trapped in the Car: Saving Tips,” December 4, 2012.