Local heroes team up to save boy's life from submerged vehicle
The peace and tranquility of a cool Sunday afternoon was pierced by the call across the scanner of a submerged car at Kincaid Lake State Park boat dock with a five-year-old boy still inside.
From all corners of the county, emergency personnel raced toward Kincaid and against the clock. The efforts were rewarded when the boy was pulled from the submerged car, responding.
One of the brothers of the youth had ran up the steep hill from the boat dock seeking help.
Kincaid Park Ranger Jeremy Cook and employee Eddie Lonaker were the first on the scene. With Lonaker holding onto a rope tied Cook’s waist, he dove under the water and began frantically searching for the vehicle in order to get the boy out.
Falmouth Firefighter Lt. John Lucas and Falmouth Police Officer Mark McClure soon arrived, and Lucas accompanied Cook back to the car.
McClure gave a window punch to Lucas, and Cook popped the back window, but he was unable to locate the boy. As the window broke, air rushed out of the vehicle.
“We knew at that point that we had taken his air away, and we had to get him out,” said Lucas.
The backseat driver side window was popped, and Lucas was able to get his hands on the boy but was unable to extract him at first.
He was stuck on something in the vehicle that was under 8-10 feet of water.
“I started kicking as hard as I could to get him off the window and get him out,” he said.
By this time, McClure had noticed that Cook was physically spent, and he quickly shed his tools of the trade and jumped in the cool water. Standing on the car, McClure saw the boy come up out of the water, blinking.
As the three worked to get the youth to shore, Search and Rescue member Mark Hart arrived and dove into the water where he met the threesome with the boy. They were about halfway out of the lake.
“Mark Hart brought the kid the rest of the way in,” added Lucas.
More emergency personnel from around the county had arrived, and both Pendleton County ambulance crews lept into action.
One worked with the youth while the other ambulance crew attended to Kincaid Lake State Park Ranger Jeremy Cook who was physically spent, bleeding down his right hand and coughing up water.
Cook was transported to the hospital. He was discharged and was resting at home on Monday.
While the ambulance crew worked with the youth, the Falmouth Fire Department created a landing zone at the golf course, and AirEvac transported the child to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Reports indicated that the young man was sitting up at the hospital and enjoying a sandwich.
While under the murky water, Lucas noticed that the kid started to blink and, once he was above water and they were taking him to shore, the child began to make noises.
“It’s still scary right now, but we have a little bit of hope,” Lucas said shortly after the incident.
“It was reassurance and grateful that he was awake and alive, because it could have been way worse,” McClure said about that moment he saw the boy blinking.