EMS per­son­nel given wrong lo­ca­tion in Sun­day drown­ing

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Nau­reen Khan

Emer­gency per­son­nel ar­rived on north­bound I-35 at the river at 11:21 a.m. but could not find the caller or the vic­tim, of­fi­cials said. Af­ter fur­ther ques­tion­ing from the 911 op­er­a­tor, who prompted the caller to de­scribe his sur­round­ings, EMS was redi­rected to the Mon­topo­lis Bridge and ar­rived at the new lo­ca­tion at 11:27 a.m.

War­ren Hassinger, a spokesman for Austin-Travis County EMS, said re­spon­ders were not able to lo­cate the caller’s lo­ca­tion through his cell phone be- cause ei­ther the phone was too old to have GPS ca­pa­bil­ity or the cell phone provider did not sup­port that technology.

Emer­gency per­son­nel pulled Tor­res out of the wa­ter and took him to Uni­ver­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Brack­en­ridge, where he was pro­nounced dead. Of­fi­cials said they can­not say if the ex­tra six min­utes spent find- ing the new lo­ca­tion could have saved Tor­res’ life.

“Get­ting ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion from the caller is ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial for us, as pub­lic safety of­fi­cers,” said Jasper Brown, di­vi­sion chief for Austin-Travis County EMS.

“It def­i­nitely was not a lan­guage is­sue.”

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