An 18-year-old driver and two of his young passengers are dead after his car careened off a Delaware canal bank Sunday morning and crashed into the water below, Delaware officials said.
The two passengers were 16 and 12 years old. A third passenger, a 6-year-old boy, has not been found, Delaware officials said.
The accident happened around 9:41 a.m. in Middletown, about a mile from the Sen. William V. Roth Jr. Bridge, state police said. The car fell into the southern side of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, according to Delaware State Police spokesman Master Cpl. Michael Austin.
A 16-year-old female passenger managed to escape the wreckage and swim to shore with the help of the driver, Austin said. Once she reached safety, the driver swam back to help the remaining three passengers.
“He was a hero,” Austin said of the driver, who has not been identified. “He tried to do everything he could.”
A multiagency operation, including dive teams, located the submerged car around 3 p.m. Sunday. It was pulled out of the water two hours hours later.
A search for the missing 6-year-old passenger continues, police said.
The driver and three of the passengers were related, according to police. The 16-year-old girl was described as a family friend.
“They’re holding up but it’s not going to be easy,” relative Rudolph Jones said. “It’s going to stay with them.”