NewsHillsborough County


9-year-old boy dies after being pulled from Gibsonton creek

Posted at 4:15 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-01 00:36:23-04

GIBSONTON, Fla. — A 9-year-old boy is dead after drowning in a Gibsonton creek on Wednesday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Chad Chronister said the boy was pulled from Bullfrog Creek by divers approximately 30 minutes after he went missing in the water. He was found around 10 yards from where he went under.

The sheriff's office says the child was with his mother, her brother and two other children having a barbecue. He was sitting on the bank of the creek when the adults entered the water to cool off.

"Playing in the river and I guess the mom and uncle swam across to the other bank and asked the boy not to move. He's a kid. He's a boy. What boy listens at that age? They want to have fun too," said neighbor Robin Morales-Perez.

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Chronister says the child went into the water and had trouble. The water is estimated to be between 10 and 12 feet.

The boy was not a strong swimmer, according to Chronister.

“When you have moving water that’s 10 to 12 feet deep, that can be overcoming," said Chronister.

The adults, unable to find him, began screaming for help and a neighbor called 911.

John Adrian Buhler, a maintenance worker for the mobile home park, heard the cries for help and jumped into the creek.

"I jumped in to start looking for him. I couldn't find him. The current was just too strong. The bottom of the river itself is also very muddy," said Buhler.

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According to the Sheriff's Office, a deputy who was about three minutes away responded and entered the creek. He was unable to find the child and called the dive team.

The dive team responded to the scene within 20 minutes, Chronister said. They went into the creek and found the boy under the water.

They rushed him to the edge and began CPR. He was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital South where he died.

“If you don’t know how to swim, as a parent you have to make sure that that child is nowhere near water to where this type of situation can ever occur," Chronister said.