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Officials Urge Caution After Child Falls In, Is Rescued From Murray Creek

MURRAY, Utah – Shortly before seven last night, a five-year-old boy slipped into Little Cottonwood Creek in Murray City Park and was quickly swept away.

A bystander who happened to spot the boy a quarter-mile downstream heroically jumped in and saved him.

Tonight the boy is in stable condition at Primary Children’s Hospital. He is breathing on his own and has a good pulse, according to a spokesman for the Murray Fire Department.

Not far from where that boy went into the water, the creek is still rushing against a bridge, as debris collects on the upstream side.

Ash Anderson visits Murray City Park regularly with his kids to check out the snow melt run off in Little Cottonwood Creek. He keeps an eye on flows across the state on the KSL River Tracker.

“I click on that like four times a day to see what the rivers are doing,“ he said.

He’s always been fascinated with Utah’s rushing rivers. But, he respects the awesome power and shares that with his kids.

“That it can be extremely exciting and interesting. But, at the same time it could be dangerous, so just to be careful about it,“ said Anderson.

So, he’s not letting his kids, ages four and six, wander away from him.

“They stay close to daddy,” he said.

City work crews this morning sandbagged along the creek through the park, to keep the water from spilling into parking lots.  They also closed two pedestrian bridges in the park that could be dangerous.

“The river today has increased from yesterday,“ said Battalion Chief Joey Mittelman with Murray Fire Department.

The bridges could also be damaged by flowing debris, like a 20-foot log fished out of the creek and sawed up today.

Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service, told KSL TV Little Cottonwood Creek will peak early tomorrow around 700 to 750 CFS, not far below flood stage of 800 CFS before receding after tomorrow’s cold snap. But, he said, it will likely rise to these levels again by this time next week.

“This water temperature is extremely cold,” said Battalion Chief Joey Mittelman, standing on the banks of the rushing creek.

Regardless of the specific water levels, he said, you wouldn’t survive long in the cold water as it swept you away 50 yards in a matter of seconds.

“Yesterday was a miracle story,“ he said, referring to the rescue last night.

That fortunate rescue, he said, is the reason to keep an eye on your kids and all kids when you’re near the water this weekend.

“Even though there was an amazing thing that happened yesterday, that doesn’t mean that that same situation couldn’t take place, but turn bad today,” he said. “We want to be able to stay back, stay at a safe distance, and especially be able to keep an eye on each other, not only our kids but each other, and remind each other that river is flowing quick.”

KSL 5 TV Live