Father dies saving 3-year-old daughter after car rolls into pond

Posted at 6:57 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-26 19:10:27-04

INDIANAPOLIS – A 24-year-old Indiana father died after trying to rescue his daughter from a retention pond at an apartment complex.

Witnesses told authorities the father, identified as Anthony Burgess Jr., and a friend dove in after the car rolled into the water, with the 3-year-old inside. Neither Burgess nor his friend knew how to swim, according to WXIN. Burgess was able to pull his daughter out of the car and a bystander, who also dove in to help, got the girl to safety.

"She wasn't breathing that much," said one bystander who didn't give her name. "But when I turned her to the side some of the water came out of her mouth."

Burgess had been parked with the car running when his daughter somehow got into the car and backed it into the pond, according to Indianapolis Fire Department officials. Burgess reportedly jumped in right away, along with two bystanders, to save the girl.

Emergency responders rushed to the Core Riverbend Apartments, located in the 8800 block of Algeciras Drive near Castleton, just before 4:45 p.m. Sunday after getting reports of a vehicle in a pond.

Just two minutes after getting the call, the first firefighters on the scene found that the girl had been pulled out of the water but Burgess remained submerged. The 3-year-old was taken to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

At 5:06 p.m., divers pulled Burgess out of the water. He was reportedly in the water for at least 19 minutes.

Burgess received CPR and was transported to St. Vincent in critical condition. He died from his injuries late Sunday night.

The girl was in critical but stable condition Sunday night, and was upgraded Monday. She is expected to be move out of intensive care.

IFD said the actions of bystanders and witnesses helped save the 3-year-old's life. The temperature of the water was 35 degrees at the time of the incident.

Divers located the car about 25 feet down and 50 feet out from the shore. Crews retrieved the car from the water Monday morning.