Child feared dead after flash flood sweeps away stroller |

Child feared dead after flash flood sweeps away stroller

DENVER ” Severe thunderstorms Monday dropped up to 1.5 inches of rain in about an hour, swelling normally placid creeks that swept away two people, including a toddler in a stroller who was feared dead.

The mother of the child who was swept away in a creek near downtown was hospitalized and the stroller she was pushing was found, empty, about 1.5 miles down stream in the South Platte River, Denver Fire Department spokesman Phil Champagne said.

In a separate incident in south Denver, an officer jumped into a swollen creek and rescued a teenager, but another teen who apparently was trying to help was swept away and remained missing, Champagne said.

Fire crews arrived and pulled the officer and the first teenager out of the swollen creek, which runs through a park. The officer, whose name wasn’t released, was hospitalized with what appeared to be hypothermia, police spokesman John White said. He had been on the force since 2004.

The mother and child, whose names weren’t released, were out for a stroll on a bike path that follows a creek on what had been a sunny day with highs in the 70s. Suddenly in the afternoon, thunderstorms developed all along the Front Range, spawning tornado warnings in eight counties, dumping rain that left dozens of motorists stranded on flooded streets in the metro area, and sent a torrent of water down the tiny creek, a tributary to the South Platte River, west of downtown.

“Once you enter (the bike path), you’re in a chute,” Champagne said. “She knew she was in trouble and was trying to get out. She was on the phone with her grandfather, trying to figure out a way out.

“The water knocked her down, she was dragged for a little bit and was unable to hold onto the stroller,” Champagne said. “What a tragic event. That poor mother to see her child swept away like that.”

A fire department team wasted no time jumping into the water, which almost swept away the rescuers.

Names were not released.

Severe thunderstorms placed eight counties under tornado warnings, but there were no official reports of funnel clouds reaching the ground. At least 4 inches of hail fell in Weld County south of Fort Lupton, said county spokeswoman Margie Martinez.

Counties under tornado warnings were: Adams, Arapahoe, Bent, Elbert, Washington, Weld, Morgan, and Prowers.

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