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A Water Emergency and Getting Out Alive

Photo Credit-Washington County Sheriff’s Office

There have been so many questions following the tragic news out of Washington County.

Nightfall, foul weather, and unfamiliarity with the landscape proved fatal for two women Tuesday night.

The bizarre chain of events started when emergency responders were called out for two lost women on some hiking trails in Roque Bluffs State Park.

The women were located and returned to their vehicle and that’s when things went terribly wrong on a town road that ended at the ocean’s edge.

People were shocked hearing the news and some said they were confused as to how the women could place a 9-1-1 call and not manage to escape the vehicle before it sank.

Public Safety Spokesman Steve McCausland says many factors come in to play when a car becomes submerged.

Years ago the escape method taught was to open the windows slightly to allow water to come into the car to equalize pressure enough to get a door open to escape the vehicle and swim to the surface.

“The difficulty when a vehicle is in the water is usually most cars now have electric windows so you just can’t roll the window down, and if you’re in water most likely the battery and power is dead, so you’re at the mercy of either waiting for this car to sink to the bottom to equalize the pressure, or being able to bust that window open and that is not an easy task,” states McCausland.

McCausland says being strapped into the car and being disoriented tends to create panic. 

He says there are after-market products available that claim to help you cut your seat belt and punch out a window in the event your car ends up in the water.

McCausland says while rare, there’s usually an instance of someone dying from running off a wharf or public landing once every five years or so.


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