Unaware of the imminent risk, an 11-year-old boy was engrossed playing with his friends near a flooded drain after heavy rainfall in Harrison County, Wisconsin, on Aug. 28, 2018.
The curious child, whose name has not been revealed to the public, then stepped into the retention pond and was sucked into the culvert with the raging water.
— CNN (@CNN) August 30, 2018
The rescue crew comprising of about 40 firefighters and first responders, along with the child’s parents, had a hard time predicting where the child could have been swept to.
The Deputy Fire Chief Wesley Pompa then called over the village’s superintendent, Bob Kesler, to help map the sewer system, reported AP News.
After almost 40 minutes of searching, a miracle happened when Pompa and Kesler were standing above a manhole, about 30 meters away from the storm drain. Pompa saw the boy’s fingers poking out of the manhole’s cover.
“He was hollering and talking to us and he was able to reach up for us,” Pompa said.
“I just thank God he was alive and he’d made it that long,” Pompa said. “It could have gone a million different ways but this one way it worked out for him.”
It turned out that the child was lucky to have found an “air pocket just beneath the manhole cover,” and he was hanging out there, trying to reach out to someone for help. The authorities said the boy was taken to the hospital after the rescue; he was “alert and conscious.”
“The first thing [the firefighters] saw was a smile,” Harrison Fire Rescue Chief Amos Mikkelson told PEOPLE. “He was breathing, he was happy to be rescued. As you can imagine, he was jubilant. His condition was really just bumps and bruises and scrapes.”
“When that little finger poked through, everyone that was standing there was just like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ Just really happy, everybody. You could feel it. You could feel the relief everybody had. This was really a miracle,” said Mikkelson.
Hopefully, these kids got their lesson that it’s not safe to play in such risk-prone areas.