MILWAUKEE — Authorities have found the body of one of three people who were swept into a drainage ditch in Milwaukee on Monday.
Fire Chief Aaron Lipski confirmed first responders found the body of a 10-year-old in the Kinnickinnic River, which the ditch drains into.
The little boy has been identified as 10-year-old Muhammad Arman bin Rashidula. His father and their neighbor are yet to be recovered.
“A horrible day, but it is never going to be as horrible for the family,” said Chief Lipski in the third press briefing held on Tuesday. Lipski said the family is aware. Numerous citizen searchers assisted authorities, and the chief said one of them found the boy’s body.
It appears the three people fell into the ditch near 16th and Cleveland. The current appears to have swept the boy about two miles down into the river.
Earlier on Tuesday, the chief announced that the search for three missing people had become a recovery.
He said then that they are not sure which of three tunnels the current swept the three victims into.
Lipski said considering the current it is very unlikely all the victims made it out alive. He said their search is based on the safety of the water.
Chief Lipski said they they did not find anyone in the first three tunnels they searched. They have not discovered any hazards that would making the search unsafe for the divers. Now they are moving to search another three tunnels, which are 900 feet long.
Crews responded around 6:30 p.m. Monday. The water was flowing fast with a strong current after Monday’s severe storms on Milwaukee’s south side.
According to police, witnesses say an 11-year-old child slipped into a drainage ditch leading into the Kinnickinnic River. Two adult men, a 34-year-old and 37-year-old, entered the river in an attempt to rescue the child. Police say the heavy rain and water swept all three away.
“In that tunnel, we have no idea what was going on in that tunnel,” said Assistant Fire Chief DeWayne Smoots during a press briefing on Monday.
The Milwaukee Fire Department’s dive rescue team and the Milwaukee Police Department’s underwater dive rescue team, as well as other resources, responded to the scene.
Due to conditions and not knowing what was going on in the tunnel, police say they did not initially put their crew in. They did, however, send a drone with a light into the tunnel.
Police said they talked to the sewage district, who said the tunnels get clogged with debris and it is possible that the victims got stuck on debris.
According to police, they say the situation was a “child at play gone wrong.”
Nur Rag, a father of five who lives nearby, said he often tell his children to stay away from the ditch.
“I tell them don’t get close to that place. You can slip in and it’s very dangerous, especially when it’s raining,” said Rag.
The storm created conditions that surprised Rag.
“I’ve never seen it that big. I’ve been here four years. I’ve never seen that water in the stream,” he said.
Others at the scene, and on TMJ4’s live digital stream, watched for hours, hoping they would be found alive.
“It’s sad, it’s tragic,” said Rag.
Police are asking all citizens to stay clear of the area. Anyone with information is asked to contact Milwaukee police at 414-935-7360.
The storms came as high temperatures and humidity settle in over states stretching through parts of the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and east to the Carolinas. More than 100 million people were facing combination of heat advisories, excessive heat warnings and excessive heat watches through Wednesday following record weekend temperatures in parts of the West and the Southwest.
This is a developing story and will be updated.