Paris, Saturday afternoon, April 19, 1913, next night a full moon
Weather- Downpour of cold rain, slick roads, wet ground, poor visability
The boy saw the wide eyed look on his nanny’s face and he misunderstood the the look in his nanny’s eyes. He felt the car bounce and heave as it rolled gently at first and then picked up speed sliding down the embankment. The movement felt like carousel horse ride to which he had been treated just last week. The boy was so busy remembering the bumpy fun that he could not interpret the fear and dread on the nanny’s face.
The girl, Deirdre, four years older than her half brother, began to sense the panic in the eyes of Miss Annie Sims. Deirdre did not understand the yelling of her driver, who now was no longer in the front of the car cranking the starter. When the car jerked forward, she looked out the back window of the car. There stood Mr. Maurevat, behind the car waving his hands and wailing into the cold afternoon air. She was still looking back at the driver as the car hit the water and a splash of cold water rippled on the car roof.
Annie Sims, felt utter hopelessness as she saw the situation of the moving car and the closeness of the Seine’s flowing currents. She quickly assessed what her possible actions might be. Throw a child out of the car? The doors were locked. Try to rip out the roof? She had no tools to cut. Stand up in the car and try to hold the childrens’ heads above the water? Patrick did not like to be touched and was already reacting to the jolting descent of the car.
The car hit the water and floated for four minutes before it began to sink. On the bank, several people who had been witness to the rolling car and the splash, were still standing there. A dozen more had responded to the cries and shouts of the original witnesses. The car floated slightly above water for 100 yards and then was lost to sight as it was carried underwater and away. The rescue of the car from the water took at least one and a half hours. During this time, rescuers and police later felt the an air pocket in the roof of the car might have been life sustaining for a while. In the end, all was lost by the time spent underwater.
There was no guard rail where the car had entered the river. There were no means of planned rescue for such a strange accident. Several stunned boatmen in row boats maneuvered their boats along the car’s possible pathway and stuck their oars as deep into the water as possible in hopes of touching the car. The Seine was approximately thirty feet deep where the car had entered. It was impossible to tell how far the car had travelled. The car was only later brought to the surface by means of a motored boat which was dragging the river in hopes of catching onto the car.
Later the story would be told that Miss Simms had held the children to the last, wrapping them both in the fur blanket that their mother had insisted that they take with them. The three bodies were reported to be hugging togther. The story would also be told that the boy emerged from 45 minutes in the water and showed “some signs of Life.” The children were taken the the American Hospital and it was there that the report came in that Patrick has showed some signs of life.