Boat launch evolves into rescue

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JUNE 26 — What was supposed to be a pleasant day on the water nearly turned tragic when a Wisconsin man’s pickup truck rolled backwards into a river with his two young daughters trapped inside.

The man, who is from Oshkosh, was launching his boat in the Fox River at Rainbow Park when his pickup truck rolled backwards with his daughters, ages 5 and 2, locked inside, an Associated Press report says. The man said his daughters had their seatbelts on and that he had set the parking brake.

A group of local correctional officers, on the river for a fishing tournament, noticed the sinking pickup truck and jumped into the water to help. “The water was filling up the truck, the girls were screaming,” an officer says in the report. “Just scary.”

A number of the officers managed to stop the truck from rolling farther into the water while others attempted to use rocks to break the windows, the report says. When the windows wouldn’t break and the doors wouldn’t open, the girls’ father directed the oldest girl to unbuckle herself and her sister and open a rear cab window. She managed to unlock the window and she and her sister squeezed out.

The truck was later towed out of the river, the report says. “It looked like we were almost drowning, but we didn’t,” the oldest daughter says in the report. “[The truck] didn’t get all filled up.”

Jason Fell