Chilling details of drowning motorist's final words revealed

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Chilling details of drowning motorist's final words revealed

An emergency call made by an elderly man who had accidentally backed his SUV into a pond has been released to the press and it records his final, desperate words to the call handler.

Henry Laseke, 89, from Illinois drove his car into a pond behind his home in Arlington Heights and quickly phoned the emergency services for assistance.

The emergency call handler has been under fire for not providing enough helpful information to the elderly gentleman because although he answered dozens of questions in the two-minute call, he wasn't once instructed on how to escape.

Laseke became very panicked and CBS Chicago reported that his final words were, "Hurry up. I'm sinking. The water is coming up."

He was told to wait and never asked by the dispatcher if he could escape on his own; nor did she tell him to try, as she was authorised to do.

Two neighbours witnessed the scene and swam out in an attempt to rescue the stricken elderly driver and local fire fighters tried to break windows on the submerged SUV to reach Laseke, but ultimately had to winch it out of the water to rescue him. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

The Chicago Sun-Times and other media outlets requested the tapes under the Freedom of Information act in an attempt to pressurise authorities into launching a full enquiry into the matter.

"It would not be appropriate at this stage to make a judgment call about whether the call was handled properly until our inquiry is complete," agency officials said in a written statement to the Sun-Times. "Every call is different, and every set of circumstances is different."