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The father used the last moments to save his daughters by blowing up the trunk as the car sank in an icy lake


A Michigan father has died saving his daughters after accidentally driving into a frozen lake, police said.

Jon Paul Dowler, 52, died early Sunday morning. He was believed to have been driving late at night near Lake Macatawa in Ottawa County when he got lost and started driving down a dark, narrow road that leads directly to the lake, MLive reports, citing police.

Mr Dowler’s 8 and 10 year old daughters were also in the car at the time of the incident.

The father allegedly drove into the lake by accident, then as the front of the car began to sink, he tripped a trigger to open the rear hatch of the vehicle, allowing his daughters to crawl and swim safely safety, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Lieutenant. Eric Westver.

Mr. Dowler’s body was found in the car.

“He was trying to break his windows to get out. Looks like he may have jumped [the hatch]“, said Mr Westveer. When the car was pulled out of the water, it was found that the hatch had been triggered.

The girls emerged from the lake around 2 a.m., soaked, cold, and shoeless. They searched the surrounding neighborhood for help, but many homes surrounding the lake are vacation properties that sit empty in the winter.

According to national weather data, the low that day in the region was 31F, or just below zero.

Unlucky to find help, the girls huddled on a porch until morning.

The girls finally found help the next morning around 9am when they spotted an inhabited house about 200 yards from the shore of the lake. A couple living in the house let them in and gave them dry clothes to wear while they waited for the police.

Responding officers questioned the girls, but due to the trauma of the previous night, they were unable to determine where the girls were heading when the crash occurred. They learned that the girls were from Otsego, Michigan.

“We always try to talk to the girls,” Mr Westveer told the outlet. “Looks like they were lost and disoriented. They were trying to get home.”

A GoFundMe set up by a family friend raises money for the girls and for the family to replace her car, which was lost in the accident.

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