8-year-old survives six blocks in culvertAn 8-year-old boy was swept into a 2½-foot wide culvert Wednesday in Bayview Heights near Proctor, traveling about six blocks underground before emerging in a wooded area of the Zenith Terrace mobile home park.
By: Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune
An 8-year-old boy was swept into a 2½-foot wide culvert Wednesday in Bayview Heights near Proctor, traveling about six blocks underground before emerging in a wooded area of the Zenith Terrace mobile home park.
The boy entered the culvert on Lawn Street shortly after noon and traveled the nearly one-mile downstream distance via a strong current, Duluth police said, during severe regional flooding. He suffered only a minor cut to his head, authorities said.
Arbutus Drive resident Gordon Marshall was surveying flood damage in his yard when he heard screams, he said.
“Just terrible screams. I couldn’t see anything,” he said. “It’s pretty wooded back there. I yelled, and he yelled back. He walked out and I could see him.”
Marshall said he told the dazed and soaked boy to stay where he was; that he would cross the creek and retrieve him. But the boy kept walking toward him and jumped the creek.
“He’s a pretty brave young boy,” Marshall said. “But he was petrified.”
Marshall took the boy into his home, wrapped him in blankets and called 911. The 911 operator asked Marshall how the boy was dressed and if he had red hair, and it was clear he had found the child who was just reported lost down a culvert.
Marshall said the boy’s family, from Louisiana, was in town visiting relatives. The boy was transported to a Duluth hospital by ambulance, according to St. Louis County Rescue Squad officials at the scene. Authorities did not release the boy’s identity.
On Wednesday night, Duluth police cautioned parents to keep children indoors during the flood emergency.
“Children should be supervised and remain away from all water at this time,” said Duluth police public information officer Jim Hansen. “Residents should stay away from streams, culverts and standing water.”
Marshall, who has lived in Duluth since 1960, said he was glad the child was OK.
“I’ve got 10 grandkids and it hit me: Thank goodness I was out there,” he said. “If you look where he went in, (and the small size of the culvert opening) it’s a miracle he survived.