1 firefighter injured after vehicle was accidentally driven into Genesee River

Fire Department

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Fire Department received reports of a car that had gone into the Genesee River at the Charlotte Boat Launch on River Street in Rochester on Friday evening.

One member of the fire department was injured while the two occupants were saved from the vehicle.

Firefighters say the call came in when a it was raining heavily, which made the rescue difficult.

Upon firefighters’ arrival, a frantic woman showed them the vehicle and said she believed two people were still inside the car.

“First arriving firefighters quickly donned personal floatation devices and rescue ropes and went into water,” RFD officials said. “The crew quickly tied off the sinking car, which kept it from floating out deeper into the river, and attempted to verify if anyone was inside the vehicle by accessing the tailgate and through a sun roof window.”

“However, this preliminary search was limited as the car continued to fill with water and submerge in the dark murky river water. Rescuers knew at least a third to half of the car was unoccupied.”

One facet of the rescue included winching the car back to the launch site using a tow vehicle.

“This was the quickest and safest way to un-submerge the car and allow rescuers to safely check the rest of the interior,” RFD officials said. “The second facet involves using the RFD’s new Marine 1 fireboats sonar and FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) capabilities to look for people in the water.”

45 minutes after the first 911 call, rescuers were able to verify that no one was inside the vehicle. Rescuers were able to remove the vehicle from the river. One firefighter was badly injured but the injury is not deemed life-threatening. AMR transported the firefighter to a nearby hospital.

The Rochester Police Department says the vehicle was being operated by a 31-year-old woman and was occupied by one passenger.

Firefighters say the passenger was a 42-year-old man and neither occupants sustained any injuries.

The preliminary investigation revealed that the driver of the vehicle, while looking for a parking lot accidentally turned into and drove down a boat ramp and into the water.

According to the RPD, the weather and visibility appeared to be a factor in this incident. Both occupants had left the vehicle to seek help and were located at a gas station.

The investigation is still ongoing. Traffic tickets and additional offenses may be forthcoming, the RPD said.

Responding agencies are: Rochester Fire Department, Rochester Police Department, AMR Ambulance, Monroe County Sheriff`s, NYS DEC Police, NYS Border Patrol, Excel Towing, and the United State Coast Guard.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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