Vehicle plunges into pond, 5 children 'unresponsive'

1:31 PM, Nov 21, 2013   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - A city spokesman says five children were unresponsive after rescue crews pulled them from a vehicle submerged in a holding pond off a busy highway Thursday morning.

It happened shortly after 6:15 a.m. on a ramp from Highway 7 westbound to Highway 100 northbound in St. Louis Park. Authorities confirm that six people were pulled from the pond.

State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske says the driver of the vehicle was a 23-year-old female, and that the children were ages 1, 5, 5, 6 and 7. Roeske says that the water in the pond is 8 or 9 feet deep and that passersby jumped in and attempted to rescue the children. Those attempts were unsuccessful.

Roeske told reporters that rescuers weren't able to remove the children from the car until it was pulled from the pond as the bottom was soft and mucky.

In an update Roeske tweeted that the first child was removed from the vehicle after 25 minutes under water, the last spent 45 minutes under water.

City spokesman Jamie Zwilling says the adult made it out of the car when it landed in the water but that the children were in the submerged car for about 20 minutes.

AP quotes Zwilling as saying that all of the children were unresponsive, and were rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center. Authorities aren't commenting on their condition. Investigators are trying to unravel the relationships between the woman and the five youngsters.

Rescuers are being debriefed and talking with the chaplain to help deal with the emotions of what they saw and experienced.   

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