Chaska teen rescued from rushing creek

CHASKA, Minn. -- From a distance the water rushing alongside Creek Road in Chaska is soothing, but up close, it's as dangerous as any creek this time of year.

"We have never seen the water running at a pace like this," Chaska's Mayor Mark Windschitl said Sunday afternoon.

It was late in the afternoon on Saturday when a 14-year-old boy and his buddies came to the creek's edge and tried to cross.

That 14-year-old boy was pulled into the water by the current in seconds and whipped downstream 100 yards until he was able to snag a tree branch.

A nearby walker heard him scream for help and called 911.

"My thought was we gotta get there fast, this is gonna be pretty tenuous," Chaska fireman Stephen Kraus said about hearing the call over dispatch.

A crew of four firefighters arrived in minutes and found their victim hanging onto that branch with his arms and his legs.

"He bear hugged that tree branch and actually skinned the tree for about 3 to 4 feet. He was hanging on for all he was worth," Kraus said.

Kraus and Chaska Fire Chief Tim Weibe were able to stand on some metal sheeting near the creek where the road had already caved in and pull the boy out with a rope and a life-vest.

"As soon as we got a hold of him and got a hand on him and pulled him in he just melted. I gave him a dad hug and told him it was alright," Kraus said.

It was far too close call because had there been no one walking by to hear the boy scream for help, or had rescue gotten there five minutes later, or if the branch hadn't been there, this could have been something far worse.

It could have been a scene of a tragedy.

And that is why the rescue team along with the mayor are making a plea.

"Parents, please keep your children out of these creeks, streams, ponds, whatever. Wherever the water is, keep out because it's very dangerous," Windschitl said.


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