SLP pond crash 1st responders recount rescue - Fox 2 News Headlines

St. Louis Park pond crash: 'There were a lot of heroes out there'

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ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (KMSP) -

As loved ones grapple with the loss of two children who died of drowning complications after being submerged in a St. Louis Park retention pond, the other half of this tragic story is what it took to actually rescue these kids.

The officers and firefighters who jumped in the water describe how they had to frantically use their feet pull those kids out of the car.

"I've been doing this a long time -- 35 years and I've been involved in a lot of rescues. Never seen anything like that before," paramedic Randy Elledge said.

More than 24 hours after they pulled five children from the frigid waters of a holding pond in St. Louis Park off Highway 100, it's hard for even veteran officers and paramedics to keep their composure.

"All I saw were two people standing in the water not aware of how deep it was there," St. Louis Park police officer Aaron Trant said.

Trant was the first officer on the scene and quickly discovered those two people in waist-deep water were actually standing on top of the sunken car.

"When she said there were children in the car -- the emotions on both of our faces. I can't imagine. To see that and to hear that, both being fathers, it was difficult," Trant said.

He and the other officers had to wait for firefighters in mustang suits which are special suits that make them float to bring the driver, 23-year-old Marion Guerrido and a Good Samaritan to shore before Tim Smith with the St. Louis Park Fire Department started sweeping the inside of the car with his feet.

"It was frustrating not being able to access the inside of the compartment and not being able to get in there and do what we could do with our hands," Smith said.

As they pulled out three of the children through an open driver's side window and two more through back windows Smith broke out, one by one, they carried the children shore where paramedics were waiting to perform CPR.

"When you are in that situation, you experience fear and you have some self-doubt. But you just put your own personal feelings aside because you realize whatever you're feeling, your patient is feeling worse," paramedic Mike Hammerbeck said.

Even though they train for situations like this, the first responders say it's difficult to come face-to-face with such a tragedy, and even though some of the children are still fighting for their lives, these people are the reason they have a chance at all.

"There were a lot of heroes out there," one officer said.

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