A seven-year-old Brazilian boy, Raphael dos Santos, miraculously survived being swept nearly 1,000 feet down a storm drain. He was with his friends when he slipped into a manhole during a rainstorm in the southern city of Cruz Alta on Monday. Unable to assist him, his friends quickly notified his father, Paulo Rocha.
Rocha said he spotted his son emerging from a manhole near their home after being alerted by the children. Expressing disbelief, he recounted “The kids called me. When I arrived, I thought there was no way to catch my son.”
“He was practically sucked into the water pipe … it happened very quickly. When we realized, he was leaving two blocks away and half of my house. But he was very hurt.”
The boy who confessed he is now relieved sustained a deep cut above his left eyebrow and received 25 stitches, according to the Daily Mail.
“There was a lot of water, there wasn’t much space and then I couldn’t move too much,” he said. “I tried to lift my head, but I couldn’t.”
According to Rocha, his son was fortunate to have been dragged down to the manhole where he came out from because the pipeline split at a section where water was diverted to an area under a condominium. He added that there was no way his son could have pulled through all by himself.
“He literally crossed the entire pipe until he got to the bottom. We never imagined we would find him again,” Rocha said.
“He’s with me because of God, I was impressed, I’d never seen anything like it. In the last manhole, at the end of the street, where there is a ‘T’, he was lucky enough to go up, because he could have gone to the side, then we wouldn’t be able to find him anymore.”
The Cruz Alta Public Works Department said they took action following a record rainfall of two inches on Monday, representing a 29 percent increase from the December average. On Tuesday afternoon, they covered the manhole where the incident occurred and conducted inspections on other drains across the city to ensure proper sealing.
“We reinforce our commitment to public safety and are committed to working to create a safer and more secure environment for our children and the entire community,” the city said in a statement.