Three Children Drown in Van; Mother Survives
POINT CLEAR, Ala. (AP) _ A van ran off a dead-end road Wednesday and plunged into a secluded bay in a wildlife refuge, drowning three young sisters, state troopers said.
The girls’ mother, who was driving the van, crawled through mudflats but was in shock and unable to tell rescuers about the children. The woman, 29- year-old Aimee Dees, was reported in guarded condition at University of South Alabama Medical Center.
Baldwin County Coroner Huey Mack said the dead were Kristen Mallory Dees, 2; Morgan Cameron Maxwell, 6; and Kari Malissa Maxwell, 8.
Authorities speculated that Mrs. Dees may have visited nearby Gulf Shores, a popular resort area, and may have been returning to her home north of Mobile.
A group of people on the beach near the road were huddled around a campfire shortly after midnight when they saw the van run into Weeks Bay. They pulled Mrs. Dees from the muddy water, but didn’t know the children were still in the vehicle.
Rescue workers worked in record 30-degree weather for three hours before locating the vehicle in 32 feet of water. The temperature was the lowest for March 16 since 1937, the National Weather Service said.