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SUV Plunges Into Fla. Canal; Three Killed

January 9, 2005

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) _ A sport utility vehicle overturned and plunged into a remote canal in central Florida, killing three people inside.

One passenger escaped just before the vehicle sank late Friday into the 6-foot-deep waterway and began filling with water and mud.

Emergency dispatchers received a 911 call from a cell phone, but it was unclear who placed the call, said District Chief Rich Wiederhold of Brevard County Fire-Rescue.

Rescuers did not know how long the vehicle had been submerged, but said the combination of murky water and mud made it difficult to find the victims.

Killed were Jeremy Charles, 21, of Melbourne; Autumn Gomme, 15, of Palm Bay; and Michael Reinertsen, 16, of Melbourne.

Brian Herndon of the Brevard County Fire-Rescue said he broke the rear window of the SUV and found the three in the rear of the truck. He and others pulled the victims up a muddy bank.

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