A 9-year-old boy drowned in a Gibsonton creek, in Florida, on Wednesday, July 31, after he fell into deep water, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said the unidentified child was pulled from Bullfrog Creek in Gibsonton by divers about 30 minutes after he went missing in the water.
The sheriff’s office said the child was on an outing with his mother, uncle, and three other children. He was sitting on an embankment at the creek when the adults swam across the creek, leaving the boy on the other side.
Chronister said the boy fell into the creek. The water is estimated to be between 10 and 12 feet deep. The boy’s family frantically tried to find him but failed.
John Adrian Buhler, a maintenance worker for the mobile home park, jumped into the creek after hearing the cries for help.
A deputy who was about three minutes away also responded and entered the creek, trying to locate the child but was unsuccessful. He called the dive team for help.
Within 20 minutes, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office dive team responded to the scene. They jumped into the water and found the boy.
The boy was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital South by paramedics, where he was pronounced dead.
Robin Morales-Perez, a local park manager, explained most of their residents are aware of the creek’s dangers, saying it’s okay for boating but not swimming.
“If you have a child that doesn’t know how to swim, I think you as a parent have to be the one to protect them from getting close to the water, or even putting that child in proximity where he could ever be in danger. You have to make sure that that child is nowhere near water to where this type of situation can ever occur,” Chronister said.