A little girl’s life was thrust into peril when rainstorms caused a creek to swell in Jackson City Park, Missouri. Luckily, four brave young swimmers who were nearby saw the danger and came to her rescue.
On May 17, 2020, downpours caused elevated water levels at Hubble Creek, near a low bridge where children habitually paddle and play, KFVS reported. On this particular afternoon, the surge of rainwater posed a greater risk for weaker swimmers, as under the bridge, an open underwater culvert had created a suction strong enough to pull and trap a swimmer.
That Sunday afternoon at the creek, a young girl named Kinsley Stuart was swimming in the area and found herself towed under by the current.
Luckily, a group of boys playing in the water nearby saw what had happened and leapt into action.
Eleven-year-old Jackson resident Aiden Kyle recounted how he and his friends were playing in the part during the rainstorm, and the water was high—over the bridge. “[W]e were all swimming, splashing, and having fun,” he shared.
“There was a little girl and we were all wondering where she went,” Aiden continued. Within seconds, he realized that Kinsley had been sucked into the culvert and was trapped under the bridge.
“I saw her hand on top of the bridge part, so I jumped in and I grabbed on,” Aiden recalled. However, Aiden soon ascertained that he needed help if he was going to retrieve Kinsley; the suction was simply too strong.
The boy’s close friend, Isaiah Randol, joined the rescue attempt. “He was getting sucked in with her,” Isaiah explained, “so I jumped in and I grabbed her hand with him and we both pulled.”
Aiden and Isaiah’s two remaining friends also jumped into the water. With their combined strength, the four boys managed to pull Kinsley free and deliver her to the safety of the bank.
A trip to the hospital confirmed that Kinsley had escaped unharmed all thanks to the four friends’ quick thinking and bravery.
Kinsley later recalled the experience of being sucked under the bridge at Hubble Creek. “[M]y feet were there, and my eyes were open the whole time,” she said. “I saw green stuff.”
Aiden called it a “coincidence,” claiming that Kinsley’s ordeal was the second time he had witnessed a friend drowning.
Aiden’s mother, Heather Crass, proudly shared her son’s brave deed on Facebook on May 18, captioned, “Praise the Lord those four boys were at just [the] right place at the right time and were paying attention to their surroundings.” The post quickly amassed many comments from supportive friends and followers, hailing the boys as heroes.
The day after Kinsley’s rescue, the little girl’s mom, Casey Stuart, got in touch with the four friends to thank them for saving her daughter’s life. She also wanted to reward them for their efforts.
“We do want to say thank you to the boys, from Kenny’s,” Casey said. “We own Kenny’s Flipping Burgers. And we want to let you boys know that you guys can eat with us forever, for free.”
“[T]here is no amount of money that can ever be put on what you did,” she added.
Ken MacKenzie, co-chair of the stormwater management committee for the National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies, told NBC News in 2014 that there were no federal guidelines mandating that safety grates be placed over potentially dangerous open culverts and intake pipes. The decision remains up to local governments.
At the time of writing, the City of Jackson is considering erecting caution signs and a grate over the Hubble Creek culvert as a preventative measure against future accidents.