Published October 06, 2012
NEWPORT, R.I. – Police have identified three women whose bodies were recovered from a car that plunged into the water at a Rhode Island shipyard after the driver apparently missed a turn.
Newport police said Saturday that the victims are Jennifer Way of Saunderstown, R.I.; Louise Owen of the United Kingdom and Femmetje Staring of the Netherlands. They were all 39.
Their bodies were pulled Friday from a car that had been in Newport Harbor for hours after it plunged off a pier and landed on its roof, police said.
Part of the Hyundai Accent was sticking out of about 4 feet of water when it was discovered around 6:30 a.m. at the Newport Shipyard, a privately owned marina near several of the tourist city's largest hotels and vacation condo complexes, Newport police Capt. Fred Gonsalves said. A fuel deliveryman saw the car and alerted authorities, Gonsalves said.
He said police are still investigating when the car went into the water and why, but said they did not suspect foul play.
The car had Rhode Island plates, and Gonsalves said he did not know whether it was a rental car or was owned by one of the women in the car.
The car was hauled out of the water by a crane around 8:30 a.m.
The driver apparently missed a right-hand turn, Hayes told the newspaper.
"I'm not sure if they intended to take the turn here and missed it because it was dark and because of weather conditions," Hayes told the paper.
A dense fog advisory was in effect in Newport until 9 a.m.
The car went into the water near an area called the Travelift pit, the place in the marina where boats are lifted in and out of the water. Among the services the shipyard provides are dockage for luxury yachts and sailboats, as well as services for their owners, such as showers and workout facilities.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Ryan O'Hare earlier said that the car had been in the water for at least several hours. Newport Fire Department Deputy Chief Frank Young said firefighters wearing wetsuits and goggles discovered the women inside the car in the shallow water.
The shipyard is open 24 hours, and a security guard is posted at the entrance at all times.
A spokeswoman for the shipyard referred all questions to police.