A weeks-long mystery reached a tragic conclusion recently, as the bodies of three South Carolina residents were recovered inside their vehicle, which had plunged into the Tensas River in Louisiana during what was supposed to be a quick road trip.
Our South Carolina car accident lawyers understand that the trio had intended to drive to Louisiana to pick up a vehicle and come right back. However, they seemingly vanished, with the last anyone heard of them being the evening of the day they left. At that time, they were still on the road and had made it into Georgia.
Three days later, authorities in South Carolina issued a request to those in nearby states to be on the lookout for the three and their vehicle, which they knew had been traveling along the I-20 corridor.
Two weeks later, state police in Louisiana launched an air search over the highway by helicopter. The crew discovered a detached bumper matching the one belonging to the missing vehicle. It was floating in the river.
From there, pieces of the tragedy began to come together. There was the recovery of the temporary tag and other debris. The next day, authorities found the car and the three victims inside.
We can only guess as to the horror they experienced. We don’t know exactly what caused the crash. Toxicology reports are pending, though there was no immediate reason for authorities to suspect alcohol was a factor.
What we do know is that death in a submerged vehicle is not always a foregone conclusion – if you remain calm and act quickly. Submerged vehicle crashes don’t always occur over bridges. They can occur without warning in instances of flash-flooding.
How you should react may vary slightly depending on the exact circumstances, but generally, you want to keep the following things in mind:
- Wear your seat belt. It’s an unfortunate myth that a seat belt will keep you trapped in your vehicle. The greater danger is being rendered unconscious from the initial impact, which will leave you helpless to act at all. A seat belt is one of the best prevention measures you and your passengers can take.
- The next thing is to keep your panic at bay. This may be incredibly difficult, but it’s paramount because you will need all of your brainpower to think clearly.
- Following the impact, the very first thing to do is unbuckle your seat belt and those of your passengers and then quickly assess the situation. Are you sinking rapidly or slowly?
- If you are floating or sinking slowly, roll down the window and swim out.
- If you are going down quickly, against your initial instinct, you are going to have to wait until the water pressure inside the car is equal to that outside. Keep yourself and passengers in a pocket of air until the car fills up to about shoulder length and then roll down the window or open the door and swim out. If you try to do this any sooner, you probably won’t be successful and even if you were, you could end up becoming pinned to the dash by the rush of water.
While this information comes sadly too late for these three individuals, it may not be too late for you or someone you love.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Three South Carolina residents apparently drown in Interstate 20 accident, Jan. 31, 2013, Staff Report, Magnolia Reporter
More Blog Entries:
Report: NC and SC Highway Safety Measures Need Improvement, Jan. 23, 2013, South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog