An 8-year-old boy survived being swept into a Minnesota drain tunnel filled with rushing water and surfaced in a creek about a mile away. While he was under, it was his mother that was on his mind.
"Mom, I thought I lost you," Kenny Markiewicz told his mother, Amber Markiewicz, when they were reunited, ABCNews.com reported. "I did what you told me to do. I plugged my nose, I took a breath and I prayed."
Less than an hour earlier, Markiewicz feared that she had lost her youngest child.
The family had traveled from their Louisiana home to Proctor, Minn., to visit relatives. Proctor is a small town about eight miles southwest of Duluth, a city that has suffered record rainfall this week resulting in its worst floods since the 1970s.
On Wednesday afternoon, it was not raining and the street where the family was staying was not flooded. Kenny and his cousin went outside, walked a few houses down and approached what looked like a regular puddle. "I never ever let my child leave my sight. This was a split second," Markiewicz said. "He just was going across by the puddle and, apparently, there was a culvert or a pipe there and he fell in. We heard my niece scream that and we opened the door, ran down the hill and dialed 911."
Markiewicz said that she couldn't see a manhole so she went into the water and saw a culvert – a pipe that allows water to flow underground. Because of the recent flooding, the drain was filled with surging water. Despite the efforts, 4-foot-3, 63-pound Kenny was nowhere to be seen. Nearly an hour later, a policeman came and told her that a little boy named Kenny had been found from a creek 2 km away. “All I could think was, ‘Oh my God, he came this far’,” she said.
About 2 km away, Gordon Marshall had been at home when he heard a noise.
“I heard this shrieking screaming, [it] kind of shakes me up because I got 10 grandkids,” Marshall told a local news channel. He went outside to check the creek behind his house and spotted a little boy "bleeding from the head down."
"He was lost, petrified, scared to death," Marshall said. He took the little boy into his house, called for help, bandaged his head and put a blanket around him until police came with his mother. "I just got out of the car and I ran. I just saw my child and my hero," Markiewicz said.
She said the situation was an "unreal" miracle and she felt "overwhelmed, relieved, happy."
In addition to the cut on the back of his head, Kenny had some bruises and abrasions but was going to be fine. His mother said that he remained a little shaken. She said he understood what happened to some degree, but parts of the ordeal were a blur. "It was a miracle," Markiewicz said.