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Delaware State Police

Superintendent Colonel Melissa Zebley

*UPDATE* Vehicle Into C and D Canal, Multi-Agency Rescue Operation Underway – Middletown

Date Posted: Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Middletown/C&D Canal – The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is continuing to investigate an incident in which a vehicle went into the C&D canal, on the south-side lower level, approximately 1 mile west of the State Route 1 (William V. Roth) Bridge.

The incident occurred at approximately 9:41 a.m., Sunday, October 6, 2019 when a 911 call was received advising that a vehicle, later confirmed to be a Chevy HHR, was just observed going into the water. Multiple agencies to include police, fire, EMS, maritime units and dive teams responded to the scene and initiated a rescue mission.

The first responding units located a 16 year old female on the canal banks who was confirmed to have been a passenger in the vehicle, but had been able to exit the vehicle and make her way to shore. It would later be determined that she was assisted to shore by the 18 year old male driver of the vehicle, who then re-entered the water in an attempt to rescue three remaining passengers. The 18 year old male victim died during his attempt to rescue the remaining passengers and his body was recovered from the water a short time later. The three unaccounted for passengers were all males, 16, 12 and 6 years old respectively.

Identification of the victims is pending notification of next of kin.

The multi-agency rescue/recovery mission continued, and just prior to 5:00 p.m., the vehicle was removed from the water. Upon the vehicle being removed from the water, the 16 year old and the 12 year old were located still in the vehicle and subsequently pronounced deceased. The 6 year old was not located in the vehicle and remains unaccounted for.

The search and related investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Cpl. J. Breen of the Troop 2 Collision Reconstruction Unit by calling 302-365-8486.

Information may also be provided by calling Delaware crime stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at http://www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com

If you or someone you know is a victim or witness of crime or have lost a loved one to a sudden death and are in need of assistance, the Delaware State Police Victim Services Unit/Delaware Victim Center is available to offer you support and resources 24 hours a day through a toll free hotline 1800 VICTIM-1. (1800 842-8461).  You may also email the unit Director at debra.reed@state.de.us. 

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Presented by Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Michael Austin

Released:100619 1830



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