View Full Version : Lost and Lost Again

07-25-2013, 05:27 AM
Recent news report [comments mine.]

"A pregnant Maine woman and her friend visiting from Pennsylvania who had been rescued after getting lost hiking died when they accidentally drove their car off a boat ramp and into the ocean, authorities said.

Amy Stiner, 37, of Machias, and Melissa Moyer, 38, of Sunbury, Pa., presumably drowned when Stiner drove her car down the boat ramp at the end of a dead-end road at about 9 p.m. Tuesday in this town of 300 people in eastern Maine, said Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith.

Smith called the deaths a tragic accident made worse because Stiner was five months pregnant.

"They called on the phone that they were in the water and the car was filling up. Then the phone went dead," Smith said. "An hour later, the deputies found the car."

Earlier in the evening, the women got lost while hiking in Roque Bluffs State Park amid fog and a steady downpour, the Portland Press Herald reported.

A off-duty firefighter found them and their dog and gave them rides on his ATV back to his house, where a warden picked them up and brought them to their vehicle, which was parked at the park.

But Stiner then drove toward the boat ramp instead of in the other direction to Machias, Smith said.

Authorities found the submerged car about 175 feet off the boat ramp, the women and the dog inside with the doors closed and the windows up.

Weather could have contributed to the accident, Smith said.

"It appears they went the wrong direction and drove off the ramp," he said. "If you don't know the area, in the fog and rain it wouldn't be a difficult thing to do."

The Portland Press Herald reported that the women were able to call 911 as the car was entering the water.

"They said they were in the water and the car was filling with the water. And then the phone just went dead," Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith told the newspaper.

Smith said blood tests will be conducted on the bodies but he did not suspect alcohol or drugs contributed to the fatal accident."

[Contrast that with the woman whose car was shoved off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and fell 40-some feet into the water - and survived quite nicely by keeping calm and just doing what needed to be done.

I'm sorry the women died but they DROVE into the water, had enough time for a 911 call and then what? Sat there and drowned making no effort to escape the car?]

07-25-2013, 08:59 AM
It was their day.

Being stuck in a sinking car is very high on the panic-inducing meter. Doors will not open due to the water pressure. Windows SHOULD work, unless they hit the water hard enough to trip the crash sensors and disconnect power.

07-25-2013, 10:06 AM
Open or knock out the windows to let the car fill to equalize the pressure to open the doors. I have to wonder how fast they were going to end up 175 ' from the ramp. It would have to be a pretty good clip. I've been in heavy fog. I slow down - a lot - and pay even more attention to where I am going.

That is why, however unlikely dumping my truck in the water might be, why:
1) my windows operate by hand crank.

2) my key fob is a ResQMe tool that cuts seat belts, blows out side windows, costs about $10 and takes less than a minute to learn how to use..

07-25-2013, 10:23 AM
Most likely the car drifted the 175 ft.

07-25-2013, 11:10 AM
We clearly have here a DARWIN AWARD WINNER!

I've had some training in submerged (cars, helicopters, planes) This a very simplistic set of procedures, but hopefully they're better than nothing.

#1. Never fight the incoming water (can't win / a total waste of oxygen time) Force yourself to RELAX and start taking super deep breaths of air (if any air is still available).
2. Get unbuckled or untangled from any seat belt, wires or ropes.
3. Take off heavy equipment (military combat load) or heavy coat. Use time to look for something to break window or pry open doors with.
4. Unlock the door(s) or openings if possible.
5. Keep deep breaths until interior is almost completely submerged and then when possible, try to position yourself in front of the nearest door or window.
6. Try to normally open door or large window. If necessary, use feet to push or break window out. Use anything to pry door open or break window.
7. Often in these situations, there's a total disorientation as to which way is 'up' (particularly at night) Simply follow the way the bubbles are going - they always head up.

It's hard, but the trick is to force yourself to stay calm and keep thinking. I found it amazing how much longer my oxygen would seem to last when I remembered to force myself into a Zen sort of calm. Cars can be the easiest to exit if one simply unbuckles the seat belt, sits there calmly taking deep breaths, waits for the car to fill up with water and then simply opens the door, exits and swims up.

07-26-2013, 10:54 PM
Subsequent information has shown up on this.

The boat ramp was poorly marked and that was hidden by underbrush. In the fog and rain it is very difficult to see the waterline. Under the best of circulmstances the area is poorly lighted and with the fog and rain, any lights would be all but invisible. Even if the women had escaped it would have been hard to determine which direction to swim toward.

The womeen had been lost earlier, then spent some time riding on an ATV while wet and lightly dressed. Apparently no time was spent warming up so it is likely, perhaps highly likely, that they were suffering efffects of hypothermia. However, that is speculation, not fact.

07-29-2013, 12:09 PM
Open or knock out the windows to let the car fill to equalize the pressure to open the doors. I have to wonder how fast they were going to end up 175 ' from the ramp. It would have to be a pretty good clip

It wouldn't have to be all that fast, the vehicle would have just rolled out into deeper water