A 911 error may have led to the death of Arkansas woman Jinglei Yi, 39, after an operator’s failure to log a call into the system led to a 43-minute delay between the time Yi’s emergency call was made and the arrival of a water rescue team.
At approximately 8:00 a.m. Monday morning, Yi was traveling in her SUV with her 5-year-old son when she hit a patch of black ice, causing the vehicle to careen over a curb and plunge into a pond.
Yi called 911 as the SUV sank deeper into 7 feet of water, and though the dispatcher sent paramedics to the scene, she failed to log the call into the system, which would have alerted police and fire rescue. She also failed to call for a water rescue team.
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According to a Little Rock police spokesperson, although Yi was in the city limits, her cell phone signal was picked up by a county tower. After the county operator transferred the call to the city dispatcher, the address still came up in the system as if Yi were outside of city limits.
The dispatcher ended the call assuring Yi that help was on the way, even though she did not have a firm idea of her location, and had not alerted the proper rescue teams.
Here 911 call below:
Once paramedics arrived, the car was already submerged and water rescue was not on the scene — only then did anyone realize that they had not been alerted. A total of 43 minutes passed (7:57 a.m. — 8:40 a.m.) from the time Yi made the call and water rescue’s arrival. Upon their arrival, they were able to get her out within 5 minutes — but it was too late.
In an interview with KTHV, Yi’s husband, Dangyong Yang, said that he was at work when he received a frantic phone call from his wife. He immediately rushed to the lake but the car was no longer visible.
“I didn’t see any car over there. I just saw in the water bubbles coming up,” Yang said.
See Yang’s emotional interview below:
The 911 dispatcher has been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation takes place.