Tragic Sunday, 3 Dead, 1 Unaccounted For After Car Goes Into C & D Canal

The Delaware State Police is investigating an auto accident that sent a vehicle into the C & D Canal Sunday.

Just after 9:30, Sunday morning dispatchers at the Delaware State Police Kent County 911 Center (KentCom) began alerting Troopers that they had received a call from a witness that told  them that a vehicle had entered the south side of the C & D Canal, approximately one mile west of the State Route 1 (William V. Roth) Bridge.

Troopers racing to the scene were told that five people were in the vehicle and it was sinking.  Within about a minute of the first broadcast, New Castle County Fire & Rescue 911 Center (FireBoard) began alerting rescue teams to the incident.

Shortly after being alerted crews began checking in to report that they were en route to the scene. As the first firefighter arrived on scene he alerted FireBoard that the vehicle was submerged and confirmed entrapment. “Got one Trooper entering the water and myself”, said the firefighter.

Within minutes crews reported that four occupants remained in the vehicle, later confirmed to be a Chevy HHR,  and that four divers were in the water searching.

When Troopers arrived on scene they located a 16-year-old girl that was in the vehicle when it went into the water. The girl told Troopers that she was able to exit the vehicle and make her way to shore with the help of the 18-year-old male driver. The driver then re-entered the water in an attempt to rescue three children still in the car, ages 16, 12 and 6 years old.  The driver’s body was subsequently recovered from the water and the children remained unaccounted for.

The vehicle was located and later removed from the water at around 5:00. The 16 and the 12-year-old boys were located in the vehicle and pronounced deceased at the scene. The 6-year-old boy was not located in the vehicle and remains unaccounted for, police said Sunday.

Officials are withholding the names of the victims pending family notification.

Multiple agencies spent much of the day working the search and recovery effort.  Police, fire, EMS, medics, maritime units, dive teams, aviation, and others lined the banks of the canal for approximately 8 hours on Sunday.




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