Police, firefighters brave icy waters in rescue attempt

KIRKWOOD, MO – Two people are dead after a car crash near I-44 in Kirkwood.

“When the car went into the water it almost filled instantaneously, so you don’t have a lot of time,” says Kirkwood Fire Chief Jim Silvernail.

He says some of the first responders who were first on scene jumped in the pond near Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, where the car was almost entirely submerged, without any wetsuits.

“One thing we did get to see was just how brave and committed the first responders were. They were going into that icy water without really any precaution,” says Reverend Robert Zagore Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

Chief Silvernail says as more first responders and equipment arrived on the scene, they got 70-year-old Marjorie Hunt and 61-year-old James Delia out car after 30-40 minutes underwater.

“They opened the door and then, of course, the occupants were restrained like they should be lawfully. They had to cut the seatbelts off and then we managed to get the patients out, who are of course unconscious, and then you had to go up the terrain,” says Chief.

Police believe Delia may have had a medical emergency. He did not survive. First responders say they revived Hunt briefly, but she died from her injuries on Wednesday morning. Three firefighters sustained a minor injury and one police officer had hypothermia. They were all taken to the hospital and have been released.

“We were inside praying for the first responders, for the people who are in the car,” says the Reverend.

“Our men and women did a phenomenal job. They really put themselves out there above and beyond yesterday,” says the Chief.

Chief Silvernail says if you ever find yourself in a sinking car, unbuckle your seatbelt, try to find an air pocket, and get out. They also make tools to help you in breaking the glass.

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