A car with five occupants plunged into a Delaware canal on Sunday and the driver helped a teenage girl to safety before dying in a bid to rescue three other passengers, two of whom were found dead after the car was hoisted from the water, authorities say. Delaware State Police say they initially found the body of the 18-year-old male driver in the water after he had helped a 16-year-old girl make it safely to shore. Police say two more passengers, boys ages 12 and 16, were pronounced dead hours later after the car they were riding in was recovered Sunday afternoon, the AP reports. The final passenger, a 6-year-old boy, wasn't found and remained unaccounted for late Sunday, according to police.
A state police spokesman, Master Cpl. Michael Austin, praised the teen driver at a news conference, saying he had sought to rescue the others. "He was a hero," Austin said. "He tried to do everything he could to help the remaining passengers in that vehicle." The driver worked to free the girl, who first responders later found sitting on the banks of the canal after a bystander had called 911, the Delaware News Journal reports. Austin said the male driver and the boys were related and that the girl was an acquaintance. All were Delaware residents but none were immediately identified pending notification of relatives. Authorities say they are investigating how the car ended up in the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal around 9:40am Sunday. The canal is around 35 feet deep.
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