A man, his girlfriend and their two dogs took a day trip to Meldrum Bar Park near Gladstone on a sunny, yet cool November afternoon. When the tide came up around 5:00 Wednesday, they got caught off guard and tried to drive off the sand bar where they'd parked their vehicle. It's a popular spot where cars drove onto the shore.
The current swept the vehicle away. An officer flagged down a boater who rescued 46-year-old Sandra Gracie as she treaded water and the vehicle was going under.
Searchers looked for the man last night before calling it off due to poor visibility. He drowned and the body of 53-year-old Thomas Ermini was recovered around 11:30 this morning about 100' from where the truck disappeared. Authorities will use an underwater remote-controlled vehicle to retrieve the truck.
One dog did not survive. The other was running up and down the shore, barking and not allowing anybody to comfort her. She was brought to safety after a long night.