By Todd Melby
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Five young children were pulled from a near-freezing pond in the Minneapolis area on Thursday, about a half hour after the car they were aboard had plunged in, officials said.
The children were unresponsive after being rescued from the car, which had veered off a rain-slicked highway ramp and slid down an embankment into a retention pond, said Jamie Zwilling, spokesman for St. Louis Park, a suburb just west of Minneapolis.
The children all suffered serious injury, according to the Minnesota State Patrol website.
The driver, identified on the State Patrol website as 23-year-old Marion N. Guerrido of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, escaped and screamed for help. A man from a nearby apartment tried jumping into the water, but was not able to get to the children, ages one through seven.
Rescue workers arrived four minutes after a 911 call was made by a passerby, but they could not reach the children immediately. Minnesota State Patrol spokesman Lieutenant Eric Roeske tweeted that an emergency call was received at 6:10 a.m. local time and the last victim was retrieved at 6:55 a.m.
The water was "very cold" and about nine feet deep where the car sank and rescue efforts were "very difficult," he wrote.
There was a "light mist" when the incident occurred at 6:10 a.m. and the ramp was wet but not icy, Zwilling said. The car traveled about 40 yards down the embankment. A tow truck pulled the car out of the water, Zwilling said.
The children were identified as Aliyana E. Rennie, age 1; Zarihana M. Rennie, 6; Zenavia C. Rennie, 5; Alarious M. Coleman-Guerrido, 7; and Amani N. Coleman-Guerrido, 5, all of Brooklyn Center, according to the Minnesota State Patrol web site. The driver had no apparent injury.
Zwilling said he did not know the relationship of the driver to the children. A spokeswoman for Hennepin County Medical Center were immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago and Todd Melby in Minneapolis; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Gunna Dickson and David Gregorio)