BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA-KFTA) — An 11-year-old boy, now identified as Cade Law, who attended Ruth Barker Middle School, died Monday night after getting caught in a storm drain.
The Bentonville Fire Department said they got the initial call around 5:30 p.m. on Monday that a boy fell into a detention area near the Walton Crossing Apartments. A few minutes later, they got a call that a 47-year-old woman was swept away in the water as well.
Fire officials told KNWA/FOX24 that the 47-year-old was dragged around 20 yards through the drainage system after entering the pipe. The 11-year-old was carried around 500 yards.
The adult female was located around 13 minutes after the fire department got the call, but the boy wasn’t found until about 23 minutes after the initial call. Deputy Chief Kevin Boydston for the Bentonville Fire Department said this type of flooding is unusual.
“What was at least taken in the area was well above 2.1 inches. We’re seeing flooding in areas where we typically just don’t see it,” said Boydston.
Dan Weese, the Deputy Director of Transportation for the City of Bentonville, said getting caught in the drainage pipes that are most likely 18 to 24 inches in diameter, would be aggressive, and could cause a lot of harm to the human body.
“It would feel like hundreds of pounds of pressure pushing you through a pipe,” said Weese.
Around 14 rescue personnel and police officers originally responded to the scene. When they determined the boy and woman were in the drainage system, they had to act fast.
“We then began to search through the storm drain system, pulling manhole covers trying to locate victims,” said Boydston.
It’s unclear how the child ended up in the water in the first place. A resident who lived near the detention area at Walton Crossing Apartments said he saw children playing in water in the area right before firefighters showed up.
Boydston had a warning for those who may think it’s okay to be out in the water during flash flooding events.
“It’s best to stay away from them. They’re designed to move large amounts of water away from populated areas,” said Boydston.
Weese said parents should also have talked with their kids about the dangers of playing in the rain. Adults should heed the warnings as well.
“It can be a pipe that might suck you in. It may be something that traps you and prevents you from getting to the surface. It may wash your car off the road,” said Weese.
The Bentonville School District held a moment of silence in a school meeting Tuesday night in honor of the boy who died. The woman who jumped in to help the boy is hospitalized. Her condition as of Tuesday night was unknown.