Video: Two drown in car after it drives off Florida jetty into inlet


A daughter and father are dead today after their van crashed through a bench then moved into the water by a jetty off Venice, Florida.

A video posted to Facebook Tuesday details events as rescuers from the shore and the waterway do everything in their power to save the elderly duo. Unfortunately, swift currents proved too strong for Good Samaritans.

According to the Venice Police Department, the drowning victims are identified as Carol Hayden, 64, and her father Eugene Hayden, 88.

The accident happened Monday around 4:20 p.m. Venice Police Chief Tom Mattmuller said in a news conference Tuesday. He explained the vehicle was in the roadway near the jetty when it struck a bench, stopped, backed up and then went into the water.

Bystanders are seen on video, jumping into the water from land and surrounding boats. The current’s strength is evident as a man is seen on video breaking out the back window of the van in an attempt to pull the people inside the car out. He shouts, “Climb out lady…climb out.”

The community where the father and daughter shared a home held a press conference on Wednesday morning. Eugene and Carol lived together at the Village on the Isle in Venice.

Joel Anderson, CEO of Village on the Isle, spoke at the press conference to give more insight on the Haydens’ lives, according to ABC 7.

Anderson said, “Our goal is to honor them and help those they left behind cope with the tragic loss.”

“We’re in shock. We’re surprised because these are such wonderful outgoing people,” said Anderson.

Venice Police, the Venice Fire Department, FWC, U.S. Coast Guard and Sarasota Police Dive Team all worked to locate the white van once is went below the surface in the strong current.

Sarasota Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Kaitlyn Perez said the Sheriff’s Office Underwater Recovery Force was on scene, but initially were limited in their effectiveness until the tide changed.

She confirmed that a Marine Deputy was the first to see the van. The deputy, Perez said, immediately went in and tried to save the passengers but was overtaken by the current in that brief moment.

“I think the car moved rather quickly. He [put on] his rapid dive gear as quickly as he could,” Perez tells ABC 7. “Unfortunately, it just wasn’t quick enough.”

The van was recovered from the water about 10 o’clock Monday night.

Officials in Venice said in a Facebook post Tuesday, “We would like to thank all additional personnel and bystanders that assisted during this event. At this time, the case is still under investigation pending further review and a Medical Examiner’s Report.”

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