Cincinnati teen's suffocation death: 911 operator says she couldn't hear him

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Monday, April 16, 2018
Details revealed in teen's suffocation death inside van
New details have been revealed about how a teen suffocated to death after becoming trapped inside his van in a Cincinnati school parking lot.

CINCINNATI (KABC) -- When a Cincinnati teen called 911 before his tragic suffocation death to tell the emergency dispatcher he was stuck in his van, the operator couldn't hear him, according to an internal review.

Kyle Plush died on April 10 after he suffocated in the back seat of his Honda Odyssey, police said. His death was ruled as asphyxia due to chest compression after he was "trapped in the third-row bench seat," authorities said.

The Cincinnati Enquirer said that Kyle was kneeling on the third seat, trying to get tennis equipment from the back, when according to a law enforcement source, the seat flipped over onto the floor of the cargo area, trapping him upside down.

MORE: "Tell my mom I love her," dying teen tells 911

Kyle Plush, 16, suffocated when he was trapped in a van and rescuers were not able to find him in time.

Despite being trapped, Kyle managed to call 911 at 3:14 p.m.

"Help! I'm stuck in my van. ... I need help!" Kyle can be heard saying.

An operator repeatedly asked Plush where he was, but the teen could not hear the dispatcher and wasn't able to answer the operator's questions, police said. According to the audio recordings of the 911 calls, it appears as though Kyle was using Siri, Apple's voice command system, to make the calls.

Police responded to Seven Hills High School, where Kyle said he was located, but investigators could not locate him. The teen managed to call 911 again at 3:35 p.m. This time, a dispatcher identified as Amber Smith answered.

"I'm trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van in the ... parking lot of Seven Hills," Kyle told 911, referring to his high school. "This is not a joke."

MORE: Details revealed surrounding teen's suffocation death inside van

New details have been revealed about how a teen suffocated to death after becoming trapped inside his van in a Cincinnati school parking lot.

Information from the second 911 call was never relayed to police on the scene, authorities said earlier this week.

According to documents from an internal review obtained by Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO, Smith said she couldn't hear him.

Smith was placed on administrative leave following Plush's death. She is expected to return to work this Wednesday, Cincinnati police confirmed to ABC News.

Smith's supervisors called the fact that police were not radioed again "unacceptable," according to the documents obtained by WCPO. The documents also noted the 911 operator was having computer problems at the time of the call and her screen had frozen.

Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said the department still planned on doing a full investigation into the incident.

Sunday, Seven Hills High School released a statement saying Plush will be remembered as a "beloved friend whose heart was just as big as his smile."

"Today and every day, the Seven Hills community is remembering our beloved classmate, teammate, student, and friend, Kyle, whose heart was as big as his smile," the school's statement read. "Our thoughts are with his family, who will forever remain a part of the Seven Hills family."

Meantime, council members in Cincinnati have scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday regarding Plush's death. The city's Law and Public Safety Committee said Monday it will meet to discuss Kyle Plush's "tragic death" and the role of the city's emergency communications center. An agenda will be made public before the Tuesday afternoon meeting.

The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.