UPDATED, June 10, 2021, 10:57 p.m.: Updated to provide names of victims released by the Nebraska State Patrol.
Two adults drowned Thursday afternoon when the Chevrolet pickup truck they were in rolled into the Tri-County Canal ditch near Fort McPherson National Cemetery, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
Nebraska State Patrol spokesman Cody Thomas identified them late Thursday as Alex Sanchez, 74, of North Platte and Kimberly McCarter, 52, of Papillion.
First responders were called about 1:45 p.m. to a Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District access road between the canal and East State Farm Road, Thomas said. The site is east of Box Elder Canyon Road and about 2 miles north-northwest of Fort McPherson.
The vehicle was driving eastbound on the rutted canal access road, “lost control and went into the canal and turned over on its side,” said Lincoln County Chief Deputy Sheriff Roland Kramer, one of those who responded along with members of the patrol and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission personnel.
When the first authorities arrived, they found the pickup almost completely submerged and upside down with one wheel just above the waterline.
They also learned that Central employees had gone into the water, entered the pickup and pulled out a man later identified as Sanchez. A Maxwell ambulance crew verified he had died, Kramer said.
“They went in on their own,” he said of the irrigation district employees. “Very heroic on their part.”
Kramer said Lincoln County Dive Team members, arriving a short time later, went into the water to see if anyone else had been in the vehicle before removing it from the canal.
They found the body of McCarter, who also was pronounced dead at the scene. There were no signs of foul play or drug or alcohol use by either victim, Kramer said.