Teen Dies After Car Carrying His Family Plunges Into The Water [UPDATE]
A 13-year old boy is dead and his 8-year old brother is in critical condition after a car drove into the water at the Port of Los Angeles. Authorities believe the incident was just a tragic accident.
The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a call just after 6 p.m. Thursday night at Berth 73 of the Port of Los Angeles. A car that had a family of four plunged into 30 feet of water and rescuers dove into the water to rescue the boys. The parents were able to escape and swim out, but the two boys were submerged at least 10 to 15 minutes before firefighters were able to bring them to the surface witnesses told the Daily Breeze.
"[The mother] was going crazy. She was screaming, 'My kids, my kids,' screaming real loud," said witness Frank Palazzolo.
Aerial footage from ABC 7's news chopper showed the parents emotional during the rescue operation as the boys were being pulled out of the water, having to be physically restrained by firefighters as they tried to resuscitate the boys. According to LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey, both boys were not breathing and had no pulse when they were pulled up. The 13-year old died at the hospital, and his younger brother is still recovering.
The car was leaving the Ports O'Call shopping center parking lot before plunging into the Main Channel. Although the incident is unusual, investigators think it was just a tragic accident. Palazzolo said it looked like the driver must've mistaken the gas pedal for the brake. "That's what it looked like, because they had some speed," he said.
Rescuers even opened the trunk of the car while it was submerged to make sure all parties were rescued. They water was so murky that Humphrey said, "They could barely see their hands in front of their faces." The car was not pulled out until 1 a.m.
Firefighter Miguel Meza was one of the first at the scene and even stripped his clothes off before jumping into the water to rescue the boys. Councilman Joe Buscaino, whose district includes the Port, posted a photo of an emotionally distraught Meza on Facebook later that night, calling the man a hero.
Update [10:39]: NBC 4 is reporting that the 13-year old boy who died was identified as Abdelkrim Ali Elmezayen.
Update [4/11]: The Daily Breeze has reported that the second boy died on Friday afternoon around 2 p.m. on Friday.