Rescue workers found a body Tuesday in a submerged vehicle near Damiansville.
Clinton County Sheriff Doug Maue said the department was called to the scene near the intersection of Billhartz and Airport roads at 5:39 a.m. Tuesday. The vehicle was submerged in a flooded area, likely swept away by water moving across the roadway.
The body of a male was removed from the vehicle.
Clin-Clair Fire Chief Brian Hubert said a nearby resident saw the vehicle go into the water. Hubert said rescuers had trouble getting to the vehicle, and eventually had to use a trackhoe to get to it.
“We couldn’t see anything because the vehicle was submerged under water,” Hubert said. “A rescue team spotted the car using a boat, but at that point we couldn’t tell if there were any people in there or not. We had to bring in an excavator.
He added, “The boat stayed with the vehicle, so we knew where it was, and and we sent in a dive team to hook a cable and chains to the vehicle to be excavated.”
The vehicle was found in water about 8 feet deep, roughly 50 to 75 yards from where it went in.
According to Belleville Fire Chief Tom Pour, who sent four firefighters and a boat to the scene as part of the St. Clair County Special Emergency Services team’s rescue effort, a sign posted beside the road warned drivers not to attempt to navigate the flooded road.
Pour added that his firefighters who helped at the scene said the submerged vehicle may have been a Cadillac Escalade. Divers at the scene noted that all of the vehicle’s windows were intact, and it appeared the deceased was the only occupant of the vehicle when it was swept away.
Clinton County Coroner Phillip Moss said Tuesday afternoon that he would not release the man’s identity until county officials were able to notify his family.