A 16-year-old Ohio boy died after being trapped in his car in a school parking lot for at least five hours on Tuesday, despite calling 911 twice and explaining exactly where he was.
Kyle Plush was in his Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot at his high school, Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, when he leaned over the third row of seats and into the trunk to grab tennis gear, according the Cincinnati Enquirer. Plush became pinned when the row of seats squashed his chest.
He called 911 twice while trapped, at 3:14 p.m. and 3:35 p.m, but wasn't found until nearly 9 p.m., when his father found him non-responsive.
At 3:14 p.m., Plush called 911, seemingly by using Apple iPhone's Siri voice activation, and yelled that he was trapped in a van and needed help. The Cincinnati Police released information about Plush's 911 calls and the police response.
The notes from the call operator show that Plush said: "Help, I’m stuck in a van outside 7 Hills Parking Lot."
"I’m trapped in my van, help... I can’t hear you. I’m gonna die hear[sic]," he said, according to notes released by police.
The call lasted two minutes and 56 seconds.
At 3:26 p.m., police patrolled the parking lots at Seven Hills High School for 11 minutes, but didn't find anything.
At 3:35 p.m., while police were still patrolling the parking lot, Plush called 911 a second time, and this time a different call operator answered.
Plush desperately explained where he was, the color and make of his van, and said that he feared he was about to die.
"Lot 7 Hills School ….I can’t hear what you’re saying; just send quickly, I’m trapped in Odyssey van...I probably don’t have much time left. Tell my mom I love her if I die," he said.
"This is not a joke. This is not a joke, I’m trapped in my gold Honda Odyssey van in the southland parking lot of 7 Hills. Send officers immediately I’m almost dead," said Plush.
"7 Hills …. [Louder] can you hear me? Hey Siri, Siri …..Siri…Hey Siri….[inaudible]..Hey Siri," Plush continued.
The second call lasted two minutes and 42 seconds.
Notes released by police show that important parts of the call, including the location and identifying information, were not clearly heard as the call operator used the TTY function, a text telephone service for the deaf and hard of hearing.
"Call taker treats call as a silent call and uses the TTY function of the phone. TTY tone overrides information from caller," read the police notes.
For years, top city officials have complained about issues with city's 911 communication system, including technical issues, reports the Enquirer.
"This young man is crying out for help, we weren’t able to give information to officers on the scene and we need to find out why," said Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac, in a press conference announcing an internal investigation into the handling of events that lead to Plush's death.
Isaac confirmed that information from the second call was not relayed to officers, who were still on the scene at the time. The call operator for the second call, Amber Smith, was placed on administrative leave on Thursday.
In the notes released by police, Smith said that she "heard no sounds of distress on the line or would not have disconnected" and that the Computer Aided Dispatch system was freezing and not allowing entries.
Plush's father Ron found his son unresponsive in the van, after a classmate called the family around 8p.m. to say he'd missed a tennis match. Medics and police responded at 8.59p.m. but were unable to revive him.
The coroner found that Plush died from asphyxia.
In a statement released to local news media on Friday night, Plush's parents Ron and Jill praised their "remarkable" son and said they continue to have questions about his death:
We would like to share a few words about our remarkable son. Kyle embraced life with a passion far beyond his years. We thank God for sharing him with us for over 16 years but we so desperately wish he was here today.
We have had many requests from members of the media to talk about what happened to Kyle and what may happen next. We respect the media's need for information and we thank them for continuing to ask questions about what happened to Kyle, as we also have questions and want answers.
Right now, every ounce of our family's energy is focused on getting through the next few days as we say goodbye to our son who brought joy to so many and who will never be forgotten by all those who loved him. Anyone who ever encountered Kyle knows he lit up a room with his larger than life, funny, smart and positive personality with inclusion of all. His friends know him as a leader with incredible potential that kept them laughing with his wit and innovative mind.
He is unforgettable and we, as a family, will make sure he is never forgotten. Finally, to those who have reached out with compassion and caring over the loss of Kyle – we cannot thank you enough and wanted to share a few of our favorite photos. Your kindness will help us survive the terrible days ahead.