LOS ANGELES (AP) — A family had just left a waterfront entertainment area when their car plunged into Los Angeles harbor, killing a 13-year-old boy and leaving his 8-year-old brother fighting for his life Friday after divers pulled them from the sunken vehicle.
The boys’ mother and father swam to the surface, but their two children weren’t breathing when they were rescued from the underwater car Thursday evening, authorities said.
The teen died at a hospital a few hours later, and the younger child was hospitalized in critical condition, Officer Norma Eisenman said.
“It is being investigated as an accident until determined otherwise,” she said.
The dark-colored Honda left a parking lot near the Ports O’ Call entertainment area of San Pedro shortly after 6 p.m. and ran off the road alongside a working dock at the Port of Los Angeles.
It traveled some distance before lurching into the harbor, where it landed upside down in about 30 feet of water, Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
“They looked like they were doing about 30 mph and turned right off the wharf, right into the water,” said fisherman Ray Prince, 33. “The car just sunk.”
The man came up first and swam quickly to a ladder out of the water, Prince said.
“The poor lady was screaming hysterically. Just screaming. I thought she was going to drown,” he said.
Divers found the two children inside the vehicle, and they lacked pulses and were not breathing, Humphrey said. Resuscitation efforts began immediately.
The adults are in fair condition but “clearly emotionally distraught,” Humphrey said. They were treated at the scene.
“Seeing the children come up, lifeless, that was horrible,” Prince said.
Divers working in murky water searched the car and even opened the trunk, but they found no one else inside, Humphrey said.
Nearly 100 firefighters, divers and helicopter and boat crews went to the scene, officials said.