by Elizabeth Hur
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A dramatic scene on the Schuylkill River – a car with two people inside plunged into the water and two Good Samaritans dove into action.
You saw it live on CBS3 and police now tell us, they believe they know what went wrong.
It happened shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday on Kelly Drive near Fountain Green Drive.
Michael Moulton and his head coach, who was too distraught to talk on camera, are from Penn Charter High School’s Rowing team. Police say they were on the river on their boat when they saw the car sinking, so they dove right in.
Moulton explained, “My head coach acted very quickly. I piloted the launch. First tried with an oar and then she grabbed a fire extinguisher and was able to break the back window and pull one of the people in the car out.”
Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan with Philadelphia Police added, “Both of them together, utilized that fire extinguisher and pulled that man from the car in this frigid water and saved his life, absolutely saved his life, there’s no two ways about it.”
We’re told the Marine Unit with Philadelphia Police arrived shortly thereafter and divers took over from there. By then, the car was submerged at least 10 feet below with the conditions underwater: treacherous.
Officer Joe Curley, one of the divers, recalled, “It was mostly all by touch and feel, there’s a lot of logs down there, the first time I got tangled up in some fishing wire, had to cut that loose.”
But once divers located the vehicle, police say it didn’t take long before the driver of the car was pulled out of the water and rushed to the hospital, where he later died.
Moulton said, “We did what we could, everyone on the river helps each other out. We did what we could.”
At last check, according to police, the surviving passenger remained hospitalized in stable condition. While his name was not released, late Tuesday, police identified the driver as 31-year-old Devon Womack of Philadelphia.
As for the cause of the accident, police say the two men were attempting to leave the parking lot when Womack mistakenly placed the vehicle in drive when it should have been in reverse. He accelerated, causing the vehicle to enter the water.