An 11-year-old boy sucked into a flooded Wisconsin sewer was saved when an eagle-eyed firefighter saw the child's fingers through an opening in a sewer cover.
The astonishing rescue occurred on Tuesday afternoon when storms hit the southern half of the state and southeast Minnesota.
The Calumet County Sheriff's Office said the boy was playing with his friends in a flooded drainage ditch after the rains passed around 6:00 p.m. in the town of Harrison.
It disappeared under the water and did not come to the surface.
Emergency fighters, police and firefighters are searching for a missing child who disappeared underwater from a holding pond while playing with friends on Tuesday
The boy was found, alive, in an air pocket under a sewer manhole some ten meters from the place where he disappeared and was helped by Deputy Fire Chief Wesley Pompa, pictured.
A diving team, sheriff's deputies and volunteer firefighters responded.
Deputy Fire Chief Wesley Pompa said that when they arrived they found a passerby trying to grab the child but was sucked into a sewer that led to the sewer.
Pompa said the water ran so fast that it would have sucked an adult man into the sewer.
The rescuers could not do anything, except try to determine where the flow could take the child.
Pompa called the village superintendent of roads, Bob Kesler, to the scene to help plan the sewers.
Pompa and Kesler were standing on a manhole cover about 30 feet from the ditch when Pompa saw the boy's fingers go through an opening in the deck.
The boy had found an air pocket just below the sewer cover and was hanging from a ladder that led to the manhole.
The boy was found, alive, by Pompa, on the left, in an air pocket under a sewer about ten meters from the place where he disappeared
A gazebo near Veterans Memorial Park is immobilized against the highway. 14/61 bridge on Tuesday, in Coon Valley, Wisconsin, moved there by Coon Creek floodwater
The firemen tore the lid open. Pompa and Kesler took the child to a safe place.
"He was shouting and talking to us and he was able to reach us," said Pompa.
The boy was taken to the hospital and the authorities said he was alert and aware after his ordeal. Pompa said he never got the boy's name.
"I simply thank God that I was alive and had done it for so long," said Pompa. "He could have gone through a million different ways, but this was the only way that worked for him."
A series of storms began to move through the region last week, flooding streets and farm fields and reducing power.
A man died in Madison when he was trying to escape from a flooded ditch last week.
Baseball player Bo Milutinovich, 13, of Coon Valley, Wis. Receive flood damage at Veterans Memorial Park. The rain continued to fall throughout the day
State emergency officials said that 20 counties have been affected by flooding in the past 10 days. Governor Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency in seven counties so far.
The strongest blow has been the southwest corner of Wisconsin. Up to 11 inches fell in the region Monday through Tuesday, forcing evacuations in La Crosse, Vernon and Monroe counties.
The area received another 1.3 inches of rain on Tuesday. The flood left two Amtrak trains stranded carrying about 400 passengers for hours due to flooding on the roads.
A train bound for Chicago was forced to stop near Tomah in western Wisconsin; another to San Pablo had to stop near Portage in south-central Wisconsin.
The trains sat on the tracks overnight. Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said passengers received complementary food and water and that the trains are designed to accommodate passengers overnight.
The trains were expected to start again on Wednesday.
Parts of Interstate 90/94 were closed overnight due to standing water on the pavement and the roads south of Wisconsin became impassable.
Emergency officials in Madison were still grappling with flooded streets on Wednesday morning and warned passengers that they expect delays for days.
A ship damaged by a fallen tree is in Ole Miss Marina after a big storm in Vasa, Minnesota
Several tornadoes were detected Tuesday afternoon at Campbellsport, Lomira, Oakfield and Brandon, Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service.
The service has not confirmed that tornadoes hit any of these locations. Possible tornadoes also demolished two barns in Fond du Lac County, killing about 100 head of cattle, said Wisconsin Emergency Management spokeswoman Lori Getter.
Some 12,000 We Energies customers still did not have electricity on Wednesday morning, as the public service teams worked overtime to restore service.
Southeast Minnesota has also been battling floods in recent days. Storms on Tuesday night missed that area, moving south, although some places were hit hard.
Houston County officials, for example, reported 7 inches of rain and had to evacuate a camp and a tornado occurred in Goodhue County, said Minnesota Emergency Management spokesman Amber Schindeldecker.
No evacuations have been reported to the state, she said.
Forecasts called for drier weather on Wednesdays and Thursdays. More rain was expected on Friday and Saturday.