Published August 01, 2019
A 9-year-old Florida boy drowned in a creek Wednesday after he fell into deep water while on an outing with his mother, uncle and three other kids.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister told Fox 13 the unidentified child was sitting on an embankment at Bullfrog Creek in Gibsonton, south of Tampa, when the adults swam across the creek, leaving the boy on the other side.
"The nine-year-old child is on the side of the embankment, decides he wants to get in the water a little further," Chronsiter told the station. "His mom begs him, 'please, stay where you're at, stay where you're at, stay where you're at.'"
Investigators say the boy did not listen and fell into a part of the creek where the water is estimated to be between 10 and 12 feet deep.
“The first thing I saw was his mother on the ground crying, ‘he’s in the water, he’s in the water!’" eyewitness Adrian Buhler said. "So I ran home, got something on that I could swim with, jumped in the water and started looking for him."
The boy was pulled from the water about 30 minutes after he fell in and was rushed to the hospital by paramedics, where he was pronounced dead.
Robin Morales-Perez, a local park manager, said she advises local residents to stay away from the creek.
“I make sure to tell them: don’t go near the river. Don’t go fish down there. Just don’t go near it,” she said, adding the mud at the bottom of the creek can act as a suction cup and trap swimmers.
“I don’t want this to sound insensitive, but 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,” Sheriff Chronister told the station.
“You have to make sure that that child is nowhere near water to where this type of situation can ever occur.”
Fox News' Kira Grant contributed to this report.