MILWAUKEE — A child and two adults are missing after being swept into a drainage ditch in Milwaukee following severe thunderstorms that brought heavy rain and damaging winds to a wide swath of the Midwest, authorities said.
Witnesses told police the 11-year-old boy fell around 6.30pm on Monday into the ditch, which carries water through a tunnel to the Kinnickinnic River. Police said two men, aged 34 and 37, entered the water to try to save the boy and all three were swept away.
“In that tunnel, we have no idea what was going on there,” Deputy Fire Chief DeWayne Smoots said.
Crews did not enter the tunnel due to unsafe conditions and instead sent a drone inside to try to locate them, officials said. The water was deep and fast following Monday’s severe storms, which also caused damage in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
The storms came as high temperatures and humidity set in in states stretching across parts of the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and east to the Carolinas. More than 100 million people faced a combination of heat advisories, excessive heat warnings and excessive heat watches through Wednesday after record high temperatures over the weekend in parts of the West and the South West.
In Milwaukee, the Fire Department’s Dive Rescue Team and the Police Department’s Underwater Rescue Team were among the first responders following reports that the three people were missing.
Crews ended their search Monday evening and planned to resume work Tuesday morning. The names of the missing were not immediately released. Police said the three knew each other, but did not elaborate.