COLUMBIA, Mo. (WCIA) — A college swimming club at the University of Missouri is rallying around four of its members after they were hurt in the aftermath of Friday’s HAZMAT crash in Teutopolis.
The crash and subsequent ammonia leak killed five people and left several others hurt, including four Mizzou students:
- John Costello, 19, from Olathe, Kan.
- Anja Dangelmaier, 18, from Dallas, Texas
- Weston Hemmerling, 18, from Kansas City, Kan.
- Sarah Tague, 18, from Lake Elmo, Minn.
The Mizzou Swim Club said all four are freshmen at the university and were traveling to Ohio State University for a swimming competition. The teens were in the final car that was driving to OSU; although they were not involved in the crash itself, they were unable to escape the toxic cloud of ammonia that leaked out of the crashed tanker.
“The four students who had witnessed this immediately got out of the car and ran in an attempt to protect themselves from the harmful gas spilling out into the air,” club executives said. “As they all ran in different directions, they ended up falling into ditches on the side of the road where they remained until being found by EMS.”
The club said crews got to Hemmerling first and rushed him to the hospital, but the others were not found until HAZMAT teams could arrive, as the ammonia cloud had become too dangerous. Costello, Tague and Dangelmaier were eventually rescued and airlifted to the hospital.
All four are in intensive care units with chemical burns to their eyes, skin, throat and lungs. WDAF, the Kansas City sister station of WCIA, reported that Costello was eventually moved to a hospital in the Kansas City area.
The club is raising money on GoFundMe to support the four. As of Tuesday afternoon, they’ve raised over half of their $40,000 goal.
“The funds raised through this GoFundMe will be split four ways between the families to use in ways they see best fit for the situation they are in, whether it be for current needs like hotel expenses and food, or to cover the large hospital bills they will ultimately be left with,” club executives explained. “We hope that everyone will be understanding during these times and keep them in their thoughts and respect their privacy.”
A separate fundraiser is also being organized by the family of Sarah Tague. The Tague family said she was flown to Springfield and has been on a ventilator since Friday, with swelling and irritation to her lungs, throat, skin and eyes. Sarah also celebrated her 18th birthday in the hospital, the family added.
A spokesperson for Mizzou Athletics told WDAF that the Mizzou Swim Club is not managed by the university’s athletic department, which sponsors its own NCAA-level swimming teams. The spokesperson did say that the school’s athletes are aware of the situation and are keeping the four club swimmers in their prayers.