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Boy, 13, survives being sucked into an Illinois storm drain and dragged half a mile

Boy 13 survives being sucked into an Illinois storm drain


Boy, 13, survives being sucked into an Illinois storm drain and dragged half a mile as Midwest is battered by storms

  • Sebastian Calderon was playing with his friend in Marissa, Illinois, by his home
  • He went to get his football and was sucked into a drain; his friend ran for help
  • Sebastian’s mother was then sucked into the torrent and saved by her husband
  • The group had to wait as he was swept into a tunnel, praying for his survival
  • Sebastian was rescued on the other side of the tunnel by a fire fighter
  • On Saturday in St Louis a 12-year-old girl died when she was swept away 
  • Aaeleya Carter was with three other children and one adult in their car
  • The car was pushed from the road and Aaeleya was unable to escape the water 

A 13-year-old boy has spoken of his terror at getting sucked into a storm drain in Illinois and swept half a mile before he was rescued. 

Sebastian Calderon was playing with his friend in front of his home in Marissa, Illinois, on Saturday when the current entrapped him.

‘It was raining and we were just out here playing, and I was going to grab a ball and then just went underneath,’ Sebastian said, speaking to WGN9 on Monday. 

Sebastian Calderon, 13, was playing with his friend by his home on Saturday when he went to rescue his football, and was swept into a storm drain

Sebastian Calderon, 13, was playing with his friend by his home on Saturday when he went to rescue his football, and was swept into a storm drain

His friend, Xavier Trammeal, added: ‘We were just right there trying to get the ball and he just went right in.’ 

The same day that Sebastian was swept away, a 12-year-old girl in St Louis, Aaeleya Carter, died when she was swept away in floodwaters.

The car she was in was swept off the road in a storm. Three children and one adult were in the vehicle at the time, and the little girl was dragged away in the currents and killed.  

Aaeleya Carter, 12, died on Saturday when the car she was in got caught up in floodwaters in St Louis, and she was swept away

Aaeleya Carter, 12, died on Saturday when the car she was in got caught up in floodwaters in St Louis, and she was swept away

In Illinois, Trammeal ran to tell Sebastian’s mother what had happened. 

Christy Stoddard and her husband witnessed the entire thing and ran to help.

‘We’re sitting on the deck just kind of watching it and it goes that quick,’ she said. 

‘So, we see the boys come through and he says something about those kids are going to fall in that creek and it was no sooner than that came out of his mouth when Sebastian went down and it was just chaos.’

Stoddard ended up falling into the creek herself, but her husband was able to pull her out before she was sucked into the culvert herself. 

The terrified parents, with Trammeal by their side, could do nothing but wait and pray that Sebastian made it out on the other side. 

‘I was scared because I didn’t know what happened and I didn’t know if he was going to be alive or not,’ Trammeal said.

Sebastian said it was dark in the culvert and he could not see his surroundings.

‘When I first went in I started to pray.

‘I kept using my hand to see if it was out of water so I could come up and get some breath,’ he said. 

‘Then I just kept going and at the end I started seeing drains. I kept trying to grab onto them but I couldn’t. 

‘So, then I saw the end so I just let it take me to the end.’

A local fireman was waiting for Sebastian at the storm drain exit. 

The teenager suffered a bumps and bruises, but was miraculously unscathed.

‘I got scratches on my hands and knee and that’s about it. And the back of my head,’ he said. ‘When I tried to go up and get a breath, sometimes I just got banged down.’

Marissa residents say for the past six years, flooding in the area has become a danger to the community.

‘Anytime we get more than a couple inches of rain, child almost dying. Something has to be done,’ Stoddard said.

The community is thankful Calderon survived, but residents are ready for local leaders to step up regarding the flooding that has now become life-threatening.

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