UPDATE: Crews save 5-year-old boy in freezing temps

Credit: Chester Co. Emergency Management

UPDATE: Crews save 5-year-old boy in freezing temps


by AMY COWMAN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @amywcnc


Posted on January 22, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 23 at 7:00 PM

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. -- A 5-year-old Lancaster County boy is safe and recovering thanks to brave emergency crews who pulled him from freezing and rushing waters.

"I think he's a real brave kid to stay through that, I mean it's traumatic," said Lancaster firefighter David Melton.

Melton helped saved the boy's life but he calls the child the hero.

"I mean he held on, kept his cool, was real calm with me. He was shaking, but he answered my questions when we talked to him,” said Melton.

Melton was called to the scene along with Chester County Emergency Management and other Lancaster water rescue crews after reports the boy was trapped in rising water south of the Nitro Lee Dam after his father went to get them help.

"I guess over the weeks we've had rain water that has been in there and flowed over the dam. And they opened the gates and water had risen before they could get out," said Melton.

Fire officials say they immediately called Duke Energy to have them to turn off the water from the dam that was causing the overflow. Crews used thermal imaging cameras to locate the boy, and then they kicked into action. With temperatures in the 20ss and not knowing if the boy was in the water or not, time was of the essence.

"Once we got in the water, you’re pretty much going off the fly really, because it's not really a controlled situation. You have to rely on your instincts about how safe I need to do this without hurting myself," said Melton.

Once they found him, Melton says he was sitting on top a pile of debris, out of the water but wet from waist down.

"I was pretty much just trying to get his mind off -- just talking to him conversation wise to get his mind off what was going on," said Melton.

Melton says it was a group effort locating the boy, then getting him into the boat and to safety, then taken to the hospital to be treated for symptoms of hypothermia.

"Was just a good feeling. Not often does it turn out like that but when it does it's a good feeling for everybody," said Melton.

The boy was taken to CMC and his father to Lancaster Hospital. We're being told both have been released from the hospital.

The family dog was also saved.