FORT MYERS, Fla.- A child was swept into a drainpipe during a rainstorm and carried 300 yards into the Caloosahatchee River on Thursday night.
Miraculously, crews say the boy made it out alive after being underwater for at least a minute.
It happened at the intersection of Florida Avenue and Avocado Drive in Fort Myers.
Neighbors tell WINK News the child was at a party at the time.
The child was splashing in a ditch when he was suddenly sucked into the drainpipe.
“It was just completely covered with water and there was a tiny whirlpool. You would never be able to tell there was a drainage pipe under it”
The pipe is only about a foot and a half across, but wide enough to have pulled that small child in.
“I was stunned. I’ve never heard of anything like this,” Sidney Oakes-Lottiridge said. “I mean, it must have been terrifying.”
“It appears the child was swept through the drain all the way out to the river approximately 300 yards,” Fort Myers Battalion Chief Chris Bevan said.
Adults jumped into the ditch to try to find the child, according to Bevan.
The water was so high at the time it overflowed into the street.
“They started running down and tracing the drain line to the river,” Bevan said. “That's when they heard the kid screaming and he was trying to climb out of the river himself.”
“We saw the little kid,” Oakes-Lottiridge said. “He was being put on the stretcher and you could tell his back was just beat up and he was just crying.”
His crying was a relief to the adults and first responders.
It was a sign he was alive and survived this extremely dangerous ordeal.
“It turned out to be a really lucky day for this child,” Bevan said.
The child is currently at Lee Memorial Hospital. Officials tell WINK News he is expected to be okay.