Communications & Dispatch, News, Patient Care

Dispatch Recordings Shed Light on Pond Drownings

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Tape recordings of emergency dispatcher calls last July 4 after four people in a van plunged into Bunnell’s Pond at Beardsley Park have been released.

The Fire Department this week made public the recordings of calls between emergency dispatchers and rescue personnel sent to the scene where an adult and three children drowned in the van.

The recordings show the Beardsley Park tragedy was complex and challenging for rescuers as they grappled with the unthinkable — four people trapped in a minivan 15 feet under water with only minutes to live. They reveal that it took a little more than seven minutes for the first Fire Department unit to arrive at the park from the time of the first 911 call.

But, in the end, there was little that rescuers could do to change the outcome. Twelve minutes after the first call came in, a rescuer radios in that the people in the van could still not be reached.

The van had rolled down the steep, grassy bank near the concession stand at the park’s entrance and submerged in the pond, which is known to have treacherous currents and a sharp drop from its banks. The driver, Michelle McIntosh of Bridgeport, who was outside the van when it began rolling, jumped back inside in a vain attempt to halt its progress.

Also in the vehicle, besides the 39-year-old McIntosh, were three small children. They were McInthosh’s 2-year-old son, David Jr.; nephew Jayden Wilson, 6; and 2-year-old Julia Boyd, the daughter of a family friend.

What follows is a synopsis of the activity as recorded by the city’s radio communications network that deadly morning. All times are in the morning of July 4, 2007.

The first two calls are between dispatchers — the first a dispatcher at the Police Department’s Computer-Aided Dispatch Center to another at the Fire Department’s 911 Dispatch Center.

10:41:47 — “Hi. Beardsley Park? in the water, a minivan with a baby inside.”

“Whereabouts in the park?”

“I have no clue. I guess you’ll see all of the the I’m calling everybody. I’m going to see if I can get a hold of the lady again [a person who called police after seeing the van roll into the pond]. I don’t even know where. She was all panicky. I could barely She was saying some weird name, but I figured out it was Beardsley Park. [Talks to someone off-mike.] Did she say where? What did you get? [Back to the fire dispatcher ] In the water, that’s all everybody keeps telling us. Marva’s going to try calling back, but I thought I would try to get you guys out and probably the medics, too.


“Thanks, bye bye.”

10:44:23 — “Communications.”

“Hi, Jill.”


“For that car in the water, it’s near the entrance.”

“OK, it’s near the entrance, mark.”


“All right.”

“All right.”


10:45:10 — [Call goes out for a rescue response from Fire Department headquarters.] “Battalion Two, Engine 15, Engine One with Marine Rescue One, Ladder 10, Rescue Five. Respond to a reported water rescue. Beardsley Park. Dam area. Map number 29. Battalion Two, Engine 15, Engine One with Marine Rescue One, Ladder 10, Rescue Five. Respond for a reported water rescue. The area of the Beardsley Park dam. On Glenwood between Richardson and Crown. All units be advised this is reported to be a minivan in the water with a child in the van.”

10:46:00 — “Bridgeport Rescue, respond.”

“Rescue Five.”

10:46:18 — “Engine 15 responding.”

“Engine 15.”

10:46:32 — Battalion Two responding” [Sirens in background].

“Battalion Two.”

10:47:09 — “Bridgeport Engine One responding with Marine Rescue One.”

“Engine One.”

10:47:29 — [Phone rings] “Hello, 46 here.”

“Hello, 46. Are you guys going Do you have a dive team or is anybody going to this Beardsley Park rescue?

“I believe so I believe so.”

“OK, thank you. Bye, bye.”

“OK, bye.”

10:48:10 — [Siren in background] “Bridgeport Engine 15 calling in.”

“Come in, Engine 15.”

“It’s in the concessions stand area of the park.”

“All units responding to Beardsley Park this vehicle is reported to be in the park behind the concession stand area. It’s in the Beardsley Park behind the concession stand area.”

10:48:41 — “Bridgeport Engine 10 with the flat-bottomed boat will also be responding.”

“Engine 10. Bridgeport Two, Battalion Two.”

“Bridgeport Battalion Two.”

“Be advised that Engine 10 and Urban Rescue 10 are also responding to this.”

10:49:18 — “Bridgeport Ladder 10 is on the scene with medics and PD. Ladder 10 will be Beardsley command.

“Ladder 10 is on the scene — Beardsley Park with PD and the medics — Ladder 10 will be in command.”

10:49:44 — “Engine 15 on the scene.”

“We’re on Channel 4. On scene Engine 15.”

10:50:22 — “Command to headquarters?”

“Beardsley command, go ahead.”

“At this time, the vehicle is totally submerged — looks to be about 15 or 25 feet out in the water. We need some wet suits out here fast. Notify PD they’re going to need their scuba team here. There is supposedly some individuals still in the vehicle.”

“Rescue Five is on the scene, Beardsley Park.”

“Engine One Bridgeport is on the scene at the boat launch area by the dam.”

“Engine One is on the scene with Marine Rescue One at the boat launch area near the dam.”

10:51:10 — [Phone rings.] “Yes?”


“Uh huh?”

“Are you guys on Beardsley um Beardsley Park “

“Yeah, we got a million of us there.”

“All right, they’re going to need the heavy-duty wrecker, too there’s still four people in the van.”

“Heavy duty Yeah and they’re children — heavy-duty wrecker?” “Yeah that’s what they’re “

“All right, OK.”

“We have everybody did you guys notify scuba?”

“Yeah.” [Off mike] “Sarge, you’ve got scuba going, right? — But can’t you guys do something with the truck? You can’t pull them out? No? Or something?” “Well, we’re going to need scuba there, too. There’s only so much that we can do.”

“Scuba’s on the way.”

“All right.”

“But do you still want us to get you a heavy-duty wrecker? Or no — or wait?”

“Just wait.”

“All right.”



10:51:19 — “Bridgeport Battalion Two is on the scene — Battalion Two is not Beardsley Park command.”

“Battalion Two is on the scene, Beardsley Park. — Battalion Two is not Beardsley Park Command.”

10:52:01 — “Bridgeport to Beardsley Park Command.”

“Beardsley command.”

“Be advised — Bridgeport [unintelligible] their scuba team in an out the location.”

“PD emergency in and out.”

10:52:50 — “Engine 10 is on the scene with Engine 1.”

“Engine 10.”

10:53:29: — “Hello?”



“Hi, it’s Jill. How are you?”

“Good, how are you?

“Listen, we have something going on at Beardsley Park. We have a van in the water with four people inside.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes — behind the concession stand.”

“OK, um, you got?”

“It’s submerged 15 to 25 feet. We, we have a scuba team, we have our boats out there, Battalion Two, uh “


“All these people.”

“So you got the police and our scuba team?”

“Oh, yeah.” “OK, OK.”

“In both boats.”

“OK. Any reason — did it drive off — was it an accident? Or was it “

“The PD just called us and said uh that there was a van in the water — with kids in it. So.”


“Yup — so we’re calling everybody and their mother, we’re doing it right.”

“All right, thanks for calling.”

“All right.”


“Bye bye.”

10:54:30 — “Beardsley command to Bridgeport.”

“Beardsley command, go ahead.”

[Unintelligible] ” 15 feet of water. Our personnel can’t get to it right now. We’re gonna have PD work it.”

“You came in awful low, command — could you repeat that?”

“This van is in approximately 15 feet of water. Our men can’t get to it. Scuba team on the scene.

“Bridgeport copy. PD scuba on the scene.”

10:55:25 — “Command to Engine One.”

“Engine One’s on, guys.”

“I want you to roll down here to the grass, get that boat in the water as soon as possible — we need to use it as a platform.”

“We’re in the process of launching right now.”

10:56:01 — “Beardsley command to Engine 10 — concession stand area and get that boat down to the water.”

10:57:26 — “Engine One to command.”

“Command is on, Engine One.”

“Marine Rescue One’s in the water and on their way over to your position.”


10:57:39 — “Bridgeport emergency.”

“Hold on — just a second, hold on.”


“Listen, Chris?”

“No, Jill.”

“Uh, Jill.”


“There’s five kids in this van.”


“Five kids — I just wanted to get that over to you, right?”

“OK, Thanks, bye.”

11:02:25 — “Bridgeport Training One.”

“Training One.”

“Training One on the scene Beardsley Park.

“OK, Training One.”

11:10:35 — Lt. Mehan tells Chief Brian Rooney of the accident, and there are one adult and three children involved.)

11:14:31 — “Bridgeport Deputy One’s on the scene Beardsley Park.”

“Deputy One’s on the scene, Beardsley Park.”

12:01:41 — “Beardsley Park Command to Bridgeport.”

“Beardsley Park command.”

“This thing has been handed over to PD. Beardsley Park command’s been terminated.”