HALLANDALE BEACH (CBS4) – Police released the identity of a Hialeah couple who were pulled from a Hallandale Beach waterway after their car plunged into the water Tuesday.
According to Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue, the medical examiner’s report states that the couple’s death was an accidental drowning. Police also identified the couple as 98-year-old Alex Riess and his wife, 90-year-old Vera Riess.
“I was on my balcony and I heard the crash,” said witness Carlos Perez.
According to Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue’s Yvonee Feijoo, the driver of a vehicle lost control in the parking area of a condo building at 437 Golden Isles Drive, hit a silver car parked by the water’s edge and then both cars plunged into the water.
“I realized there were people in the car,” Perez said. “I got down straight into the channel and there were a couple guys with me trying to reach. But it was so deep. I couldn’t save anybody.”
Roughly 30 minutes later Hollywood and Fire Rescue dive team members pulled the body of the man from the water just before noon; he was pronounced soon after. Within minutes divers pulled the body of his wife from the water; she too was pronounced dead.
Ada Tuah watched the rescue efforts in disbelief. Not only was she friends with the couple, she said it could have very well been her car in the canal.
“Everyday I park there and this morning another car was there so I was not upset but I said ‘Jesus ya know you took my space,’” resident Ada Tuah said.
Some of the building’s residents spent the afternoon discussing what can be done to prevent this from happening in the future; some suggested metal guard rails.
“I mean actual steel rather than have it open to try to protect people. I don’t know what else to do,” said Mel Schofield.
Building management said the couple had lived in the building for a long time. Their neighbors said they were cordial but much older so they rarely got out.
“He was ill. He just had some surgery not to long ago,” said Schofield.