Lieutenant Governor Tregenza Roach on Monday afternoon joined a proud and grateful Virgin Islands in commending the heroic efforts of Dillon Hodge and Kalan Bernier, students at the Charlotte Amalie High School on St. Thomas for their bravery over the weekend in saving the lives of passengers in a waterfront car accident. The students were presented with certificates of commendation.
It is indeed my honor to extend immense gratitude to Dillon and Kalan for their courageous actions. Thanks to these young men, the lives of those passengers were saved. Without hesitation they demonstrated selflessness and the human instinct to help as they jumped into the dark waters of the waterfront to rescue the occupants of the car,” said the lieutenant governor, according to a release from his office.
“When I saw the video of the incident I was truly at a loss for words. The shocking footage of the vehicle plunging into the water would easily make anyone freeze from disbelief,” he added. “However, these young men immediately rushed to help those individuals and did so even at the risk of harm to themselves. Seeing the urgency of their response was truly remarkable,” said Lieutenant Governor Roach.
“I would also like to publicly thank all other persons who played a role in this daring rescue. Also identified as one of the brave individuals on the scene was son of Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory, Agyei Gregory, who also jumped into the water to render aid.
“As Virgin Islanders, we are undeniably proud and honor these young men for stepping up to the plate as heroes who put the lives of others before their own. We thank you for your acts of bravery and compassion.”
A video posted by Facebook user Everton Powell shows the chilling moment the car leaves the roadway and goes headlong into the water. Another vehicle immediately pulls over and two people run across the street and disrobe on the roadside. One jumps in after the vehicle, swimming to the white sedan that was now drifting out, carried away perhaps by its momentum or by currents in the water.
The good Samaritan, identified as Dillon Hodge, opened the door of the sinking car and clambered inside. Soon the hatch of the trunk can be seen popping open as the second bystander — identified as Agyei Gregory, an engineer at Schneider Regional Medical Center and son of Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory — jumps into the water. Ms. Frett-Gregory said this account was given to her by her son. Sixteen nerve-wracking seconds elapse until people are spotted exiting the rapidly sinking vehicle, and they can be seen making their way to dry land as the white sedan, headlights still on, submerges into the depths below.
Additional bystanders get into the water to assist in the rescue. The three and a half minute video ends with the parties making their way on to dry land.
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