Dozens of rescuers work to save girls from Black Bayou - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Dozens of rescuers work to save girls from Black Bayou

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Pictured: Faith Castilaw (l), Raelyn Encalade (m) and Patience Lobell (r) Pictured: Faith Castilaw (l), Raelyn Encalade (m) and Patience Lobell (r)
Rescue crews at the scene in Black Bayou Rescue crews at the scene in Black Bayou
Crews pulled this car from a bayou in Ascension Parish after the driver apparently lost control and went off the road. Crews pulled this car from a bayou in Ascension Parish after the driver apparently lost control and went off the road.
ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) -

Emergency workers say the current in the Black Bayou and the cold water made rescue efforts Tuesday night extremely difficult. St. Amant Volunteer Firefighters, crews from Gonzales and Ascension Sheriff Deputies were all trying to rescue sisters who were trapped underwater, off Springer Bridge Road.

Late Tuesday night, investigators say a woman was making a quick trip to the store. In the car with her were four little girls. Her daughters, Faith, 9, and Patience, 7, as well as two other girls. Somehow the car they were in left the road and ended up in the water.

Toby Ragas says he was at his home, not far from where the accident happened. He heard tires screeching, grabbed his car keys and went to see what happened. What he saw was red taillights peering from the bayou.

"I couldn't sleep last night," Ragas said. "Replaying it over and over. Maybe I could've done this, could've done that."

Ragas said he told his wife to dial 911 and he dove in the water. He says he saw a little girl surface and was able to get her back to the bank. But when he turned to go back, the car was under water.

"I could see some bubbles and the mother was pointing in that direction and right about then, I seen some fingers just poke out of the water. By the grace of God, when I reached down I was able to catch her right around the elbow and pull her up where she could catch some air," Ragas said.

Within a few minutes, Shane Rojas was the first firefighter to arrive. He saw a woman in the water who he was getting ready to rescue.

"She was shouting help my babies, help my babies. They still in the vehicle," Rojas said.

Minutes later emergency crews found the car. St. Amant Fire Chief James LeBlanc says the car was in 20 to 30 feet of water. Emergency crews started trying to break the windows. Rojas says between 60 and 70 responders were on the bank of the bayou all taking turns going in the water.

"You hitting stuff and then air pocket came up. We had no idea what it was we busted," said Rojas.

LeBlanc said what they hit was the back window of the car. In the backseat, still buckled in were Faith and Patience. Rescuers tried CPR once they got the girls out, but it was too late.

"I spent a lot of time just praying. Just praying for those children," said Ragas.

Accounts have been set up at Capital One Bank to help the family pay for funeral expenses.

If you would like to donate, You may go to any branch of Capitol One Bank. There are two separate donation accounts, one in each of the girl's names. Faith Castilaw Donation Account or Patience Lobell Donation Account.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.

SIDEBAR: Black Bayou car submerged

2 kids die after car goes into bayou

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