An Ohio teenager suffocated to death after becoming stuck in the seat of his family’s minivan – despite apparently using Siri to make two 911 calls for help.
Kyle Plush, 16, was found dead by his father Tuesday in a parking lot near Seven Hills School, the private academy he attended in Cincinnati, Ohio.
During his second call, an internal investigation found the 911 call-taker call did not follow proper protocol and failed to relay to police officers that Plush was in distress, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Issac revealed at a news conference Thursday. As a result, officers called off their search when they couldn’t initially find the person making the 911 call.
The Hamilton County Coroner’s office preliminary autopsy results found that Plush died from “asphyxia due to chest compression” and that his death was accidental.
It is unclear exactly why, but there were problems receiving both of Plush’s incoming 911 calls. Issac said that during the first call, which came at 3:16 p.m. and lasted two minutes and 56 seconds, Plush could not hear the call-taker on the line, and there was no dialogue exchanged. After being disconnected, the emergency call-taker tried to call Plush back but got his voicemail.
At this point, Issac said, two police cars were dispatched to go look for the minivan, but they could not find it.
Plush called 911 again around 3:35 p.m. and the second call-taker had trouble hearing him. “The call-taker did not communicate with the caller, and the information was not relayed to the officers who were still on the scene at the time,” Issac said of the second call. “There was trouble on the line, [the call-taker] pressed the tone to indicate she was having trouble hearing on the line.”
A transcript of both 911 calls was published by The Washington Post.
“Help, help, help, help,” the Post transcript of the first call reads. “Help!” It describes banging sounds in the background. “I can’t hear you,” the teen said.“I’m in desperate need of help. … I’m going to die here.”
After saying help once more, the first call ended, the Post reported.
During his second 911 call, Plush asked the call-taker to give his mother a message if he did not survive.
“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die,” the transcript reads. “This is not a joke. This is not a joke. I’m trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van in the sophomore parking lot of Seven Hills [unintelligible]. Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead.”
“Can you hear me?” Plush says, according to the Post.
The transcript ends with repeated attempts by the teenager to activate Siri on his iPhone.
Plush was ultimately found inside the minivan hours later by his father, who went to look for the vehicle himself using a location-finding app after calling the police, said Dave Dougherty, Hamilton County Sheriff Office’s public information officer.
Both the Cincinnati Police Department and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office are conducting investigations into what went wrong during Plush’s 911 calls.
At the news conference Thursday, Issac called the 16-year-old’s death “a tragic event that we don’t have all the answers to right now.”
The second call-taker was identified as Amber Smith, who has been placed on administrative leave. Issac said a formal interview has not yet been conducted with Smith.