By Christina Santucci
Four people died after a car carrying five people rolled into Steinway Creek Friday night and became fully submerged in the Astoria waterway, fire and police officials said.
Battalion 49 Chief James Jacobs said emergency responders raced to the creek near 37th Street and 19th Avenue a little after 10:30 p.m. after a 911 call about a car in the water with people trapped inside.
“Upon arrival we saw a gentleman down the block waving us in.” Jacobs said. “He informed us that he was the driver. He was able to self evacuate and there were four confirmed people in the car.”
Emergency responders were unable to see the 2009 Honda Accord from land, so two members of Ladder 117 went into the water and spotted the vehicle soon afterward about 30 feet from the shore and eight feet under water, Jacobs said.
“The car was actually flipped on its roof. The roof was on the bottom of the creek,” Jacobs said.
Two rescue scuba teams – Rescue 3 and 4 – were called in and pulled the four adults from the water in conjunction with Ladder 117, Jacobs said while speaking to reporters just after midnight Saturday.
Two unidentified women and one man were taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where they were pronounced dead, and one unidentified man was brought to Mount Sinai Hospital Queens, where he was pronounced dead, the NYPD said early Saturday morning.
The 20-year-old driver was in “relatively stable” condition when he was taken to the hospital, said Deputy Chief Anthony Degennaro.
“He was obviously a little upset, a little frantic,” Jacobs said.
Police said the driver was taken to Elmhurst Hospital to be evaluated.
There was no word on whether any of the passengers were wearing seat belts when the car went into the water, and the NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad was investigating the incident, officials said.
Police said a preliminary investigation determined that the car was headed westbound on 19th Avenue when it struck a curb and rolled into the water.
The area where the car went into the water is a dead-end street and is closeby to the Steinway Piano Factory.
Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at email@example.com by phone at 718-260-4589.