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PHOTOS: Car Involved in Bridge Accident Pulled From Ohio River

The red Pontiac sedan that crashed into the side of the Combs-Hehl bridge on March 15 and fell into the Ohio River was recovered around noon today with a single male victim still inside.

The victim was later identified as David Bouma of Milford, Ohio. Bouma's family was on the barge where a crane was used to lift the car from the water.

When asked where things will go from here, Garnick said the victim will go to Frankfort.

"The autopsy will be tomorrow morning and we will find out what he died from," Campbell County Deputy Coroner Al Garnick said.

The coroner officially pronounced the man dead at 12:15 p.m.

Ryan Kendall was the diver who was sent down to secure the vehicle. Kendall said they were able to drop a line about two feet from the vehicle and told reporters that the vehicle was oriented on its hood, mostly upside down. It had enough silt and mud and the water flow was so strong, he said, that they couldn't get the doors open to get the victim out.

The decision was made to lift the car out with the victim inside. Kendall was able to secure lines to the frame, even though the visibility was only about 12 inches. The current in the water was 1.5 to 2.0 knots and the water temperature varied between 40 and 53 degrees when they started the recovery effort between 7 and 8 a.m.  

Kendall said there was a water heater on the boat that heated river water to about 110 degrees and pumped it back into his suit so he would not succumb to the cold water temperature. He explained that it took about a half hour to go down and scout out the conditions in order to form a plan about how to recover the car. The recovery itself took about an hour. 

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- Photos and story by Patricia Scheyer, RCN contributor

 

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