3 in ‘critical condition’ after car plunges 40 feet into SC river

Horry County Fire Rescue photo via WBTW

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County rescue crews were called after a vehicle went through a concrete barrier and off a bridge into a portion of the Waccamaw River with three people inside on Monday afternoon.

A tweet from Horry County Fire Rescue states crews responded to Highway 501 near the Waccamaw River.

Captain Mark Nugent with Horry County Fire Rescue says three people, including two children, were in the car at the time of the crash and taken to the hospital in critical condition. A 10-year-old child was flown to a local hospital while the adult and a 13-year-old were taken by ambulance.

At a press briefing, Capt. Nugent said he was not sure what caused the collision. Crews say the car went through the concrete bridge barrier and over the side of the bridge, dropping to a marshy area below.

Capt. Nugent estimates it was a 30 to 40 foot drop from the bridge to the water and the car landed on its top, trapping the people inside.

Rescuers had to lower extrication equipment down the embankment to remove the people from the car and then carry them to a boat where they were moved to the Savannah Bluff Boat Landing and taken to the hospital.

“It was a long and very grueling extrication,” Capt. Nugent said of the rescue that took nearly an hour and a half.

According to the SC Highway Patrol’s real time traffic information, the crash with injuries was reported around 10:54 a.m.

“Active rescues at this time. Boat resources en route,” the tweet from Horry Conty Fire sent out at 11:16 a.m. stated.

Conway Police Department’s Lt. Selena Small says the collision has shut down all northbound lanes on Highway 501 at Lake Busbee. Police are asking that people expect delays and avoid the area.

“Remember options such as Hwy 31 North to Hwy 22 west to get you to Hwy 501 in Aynor. You can also use Business 501. Traffic is being diverted at Hwy 501/Hwy 544,” Lt. Small said in an email.

First responders with the Conway Police Department and the Conway Fire Department worked alongside Horry County Fire Rescue to free the three victims.