7-year-old drowns after mom blinded by dust drives into a pond, Missouri cops say

A Missouri woman was driving with her children on a gravel road when dust billowing from the vehicle she was following blocked her vision, police and media outlets reported.

Because the 30-year-old mother from Chesterfield couldn’t see in front of her, she accidentally drove her Kia Spectra into a pond in Warren County about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

They didn’t see the curve and ended up in the pond,” Sgt. Charles Bowles told KMOV.

Police said two of the children escaped the sinking car, while the mother tried to rescue her 7-year-old daughter, Safa Alkhirafi, but struggled to swim, according to the St. Louis TV station.

Marthasville firefighters arrived at the pond to find the car was already submerged, but they couldn’t find a way to get into the vehicle, the release said.

“It’s heartbreaking when you pull up and you have people in the water, and everyone is screaming that there are people trapped in the car yet,” Fire Chief Jeff Backhaus said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A dive team from the Metro West Fire Protection District in St. Louis recovered the girl’s body, according to the release. Her mother was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The mother was still unconscious Sunday night and unaware that her child had died, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.