FRACKVILLE, Pa. — A 12-year-old girl from Schuylkill County is on her way home from the hospital after being swept nearly half a mile underground in a flooded drainpipe.
It happened Monday afternoon when firefighters were called to Mahanoy Creek in Frackville.
Taylor Russell was swept nearly half a mile underground in that drainpipe. She talked with WNEP-TV about the experience, saying she held her breath the whole time, certain she was going to die. But in her hospital room she had a lot of smiles as she talked about surviving.
She said it happened when she and some friends checked out flash flooding at a drainpipe along Arch Street.
“I didn’t know there was a drop in the ground there and I went under and was trying to get up and my friends tried helping me and they couldn’t,” Taylor recalled.
The water was much higher on Monday, whipping into a pipe that led right under the road and hundreds of yards underground.
“I was swooped under, and I tried to look back and see if my sister was there, and I was trying to yell and I couldn’t because I didn’t want to open my mouth so I didn’t get anything in my mouth.”
Taylor lost her mom to cancer last year. She says she heard her mom’s voice as she was submerged in that pitch dark.
“It was just scary, dark, scary. My mom helped me through, though. I was thinking of everyone, my dad, my mom, my new mom, my sisters and my brothers,” said Taylor. “I was just praying that I would make it through.”
Taylor was discharged Tuesday afternoon and is thrilled to be heading home. She said she is really afraid of water right now, but says she’ll take it step by step getting over that fear.
The family thanks everyone who helped find her.
Read more from our sister station WNEP.