INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The loved ones of the man who died rescuing his daughter from a car in a Castleton pond say he should be remembered as a hero.
Authorities say 23-year-old Anthony Burgess Jr. died due to injuries he suffered after being under water for close to 20 minutes.
Burgess was parked and his car was running close to a retention pond at the Core Riverbend Apartments. Witnesses say Burgess left the car to talk to a friend. Shortly afterwards, his 3-year-old daughter, Amina Garrett, somehow shifted the car’s gears and it backed into the pond. Burgess reportedly jumped in right away, along with two bystanders, to save the girl.
“He just stepped out of the car for a second to talk to somebody, and within a matter of seconds that happened,” Amina Garrett’s Aunt Kelly Jordan said.
Burgess didn’t know how to swim, but witnesses say he reached the car as it floated towards the middle of the pond. He reportedly tread water and held his daughter up so she could be rescued.
“He was holding her up out of the water with all the strength he had, but he was steadily sinking and trying to keep her out of that water,” Jordan said.
Thanks to help from bystanders, Burgess was able to hand his daughter off and get her to shore. He, however, was not able to make it out of the pond.
Loved ones, including Kelly Jordan, say Burgess was the ultimate example of a good father and will be sorely missed.
“We can remember Tony as a hero. We can remember him as trying to save his daughter. Even if he couldn’t save his own life, he could save his baby’s life,” she said.