SCHUYLKILL (KDKA) – A 12-year-old girl is home from the hospital after being swept several hundred yards through a flooded drainpipe is Schuylkill County.
Taylor Russell says the experience was terrifying, and she is surprised she is alive to talk about it today.
She was checking out flooding late Monday when her curiosity drew her too close to a drainpipe.
“I didn’t know there was a drop in the ground there, and I went under,” she said.
Before anyone could react, Taylor was sucked into an underground pipe.
“I tried to look back to see if my sister was there, and I couldn’t yell because I didn’t want to open my mouth,” she said.
“You start losing hope very quickly when you see where she entered the pipe at,” Taylor’s father, Brian Russell, said. “You start to believe that it’s impossible.”
Surrounded by water, Taylor held her breath and feared the worst.
“It was dark and scary,” she said. “I was thinking of everybody: my dad, my mom, my new mom, my sisters and brothers. I was just praying that I would make it through.”
Taylor did just that, literally making it through about 200 yards of underground pipe before emerging into a creek.
“I came out, and I kept hitting my head on stuff. There was a rock in the water, and I grabbed onto a rock and tried grabbing trees, yelling for help.”
She was washed several hundred more yards downstream before finally being rescued.
“Best thing in the world when I knew she was okay,” her father said. “Very beaten up, but she looked back at me, and she told me that she missed me.”
“I was like, ‘Somebody pinch me, I’m still alive. I’m here,’” Taylor said.
Taylor suffered a few bumps and bruises but is otherwise okay after a short stay in the hospital.