VENICE, Fla. — A white minivan crashed through a bench east of Anita’s Sandcastle at the South Jetty and plunged into the Venice Inlet Monday afternoon, killing two people inside, Venice, Florida, police told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Emergency personnel from the Venice police and fire departments, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office underwater dive team, the U.S. Coast Guard and Sea Tow searched for the vehicle for more than two hours before finding the van in about 15 feet of water at about 6:30 p.m., Venice Police Chief Tom Mattmuller said.
Eyewitnesses indicated the vehicle was carried out toward the Gulf of Mexico on the outbound tide. The City of Venice provided video of the moments after the car entered the water.
“When I saw it came close to me, I saw this lady frantically hitting on the window, ‘Help me, help me,’ said Palli Naik, who along with her husband Ramesh, was visiting the South Jetty with her cousin Ashwin Desai.
“She was an elderly lady, she was the driver,” Naik said. “It was horrible, she was very desperate — I can still see her face.”
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