Remagen A 25-year-old motorist plunged into the Rhine River in Remagen early Friday morning. Four policemen, several passers-by and the fire department rescued the man with their combined efforts.
Dramatic scenes took place early Friday morning on and in the Rhine near the street called Fährgasse in Remagen. At 2:10 a.m. passers-by reported a vehicle floating in the water in which there were presumably still people. Two police units were dispatched immediately, and an emergency doctor and the fire department were alerted.
About 15 meters from the shore, in head-high water, the roof of a VW Golf was just visible. Four police officers immediately started their rescue mission. Half walking, half swimming, they reached the car where they saw a person inside gesticulating wildly. An emergency hammer was used to smash a side window.
Rescuers were able to free the young man from the partially submerged vehicle and they brought him to the shore. At the same time, the sinking vehicle was checked for other possible occupants, as were the adjacent Rhine and the shore area. Shortly afterwards, rescuers breathed a sigh of relief: There were no indications that other persons were in danger or otherwise involved in the incident.
The presumed driver of the car, a 25-year-old man from the region, was admitted to the Remagen hospital with serious hypothermia, but otherwise only minor injuries. During the rescue mission, three of the four police officers involved suffered cuts and bruises. The older model VW Golf was removed from the river with considerable effort.
According to police, not much is currently known about the course of events leading to the accident, as there were no direct witnesses to the accident and the 25-year-old could not yet be questioned in detail. "It seems clear that the VW Golf had been on the steep road going down to the Rhine, which leads almost at right angles to the Rhine promenade and the Rhine. At this point, the safety railing on the bank was broken through.” Remagen police investigators reported that the car and its occupant drifted about 150 meters in the Rhine before hitting ground.
Police assume that it was an accident, at least there were no indications at this time that the young man intentionally wanted to drive into the Rhine. How it happened and why he lost control of the car are still the subject of police investigations.
Remagen police officers concluded: "In any case, the 25-year-old had a very attentive guardian angel and equally courageous and determined police officers at his side. Whether the young man would have succeeded in escaping from the sinking vehicle on the Rhine through his own efforts may at least be regarded as questionable".
(Orig. text: Victor Franke / Translation: ck)