Aaleya Carter St Louis, Missouri girl, 12, dies after swept into storm drain hole during flood waters while driving home from the movies with her family.
An avoidable tragedy? A 12-year-old girl celebrating her birthday at the movies with her mom and siblings died early Saturday morning when the family car became caught in flood waters in St. Louis as they made their way home.
Aaleya Carter along with her mother, brother and sister were traveling home when at around 1.30am near St. Louis International Airport their automobile was swept into a concrete storm train.
Stuck just south of the airport, the occupants of the vehicle were able to escape the rising waters, except for Aaleay who was swept away by currents. Aaleya’s body was found hours later in a nearby creek, less than a mile north of the airport.
She had just celebrated her 12th birthday on Wednesday.
‘She was out this morning with her mom and brother, and sister enjoying her birthday,’ Carter’s grandmother, Tanya Carter, told Fox 2.
A mother’s anguish
‘They had just left the movies and the water picked up the car and pushed it to the side to where it was hard for them to get out, and she didn’t know there was a drain up under the drain, and she went up under the drain.’
Highway authorities said the water may have reached up two feet deep, and that other cars on the road had also tried to navigate the waters but stalled.
‘The water, I was told by witnesses, got up to two (feet) over the interstate,’ Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Juston Wheetley told Fox. ‘Some vehicles were traveling and trying to navigate the water became disabled on the interstate.’
‘This vehicle attempted to go in the water and attempted a u-turn and go back up Airflight road to avoid the flooded roadway. As they turned in the water, the current swept the vehicle off the roadway and into that concrete drain opening.’
Aaleya’s disappearance sparked a frantic search, with her mother, Bre Carter, asking for help on Facebook around mid morning on Saturday.
‘Y’all don’t understand I’m losing my fckin mind right now I want my bbyyyyy Leya I’m so hurt man,’ she wrote.
A false report that she was found alive led searchers to a terminal at the airport to find her, Fox 2 reported, but by around noon, families and authorities had found Carter’s body in Coldwater Creek, a tributary of the Missouri River just north of the airport.
A rare occurence
After the discovery her mother shared her anguish on Facebook, writing, ‘Baby I’m sooooo sorry I’ll give it all up to have you back.’
A candlelight vigil was held Saturday night for Carter, according to photos and video posted on social media.
Wheetley said the tragedy was a rare occurrence.
‘This was a fluke thing. This is not something we’ve seen before,’ he told Fox 2.
‘I do know that trying to navigate floodwaters is extremely dangerous. So we do want to encourage people as more rain comes in, those roadways will become flooded in areas. So stay in your vehicle at all possible.’