Man who jumped in 15 ft hole to save toddler speaks out - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Man who jumped in 15 ft hole to save toddler speaks out

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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Some are calling the outcome a miracle.

A toddler falls down a 15 foot dark hole and comes out unharmed.

"I heard parents screaming that a child had fallen in the hole."

Terrance Washington was hosting a youth football practice for his team Thursday night at Russell Lee Park when events took a near tragic turn.

"I saw a group of parents running in a direction and I immediately knew something was going on," Washington told WDRB.

Washington darted about 50 yards to the group.

A 2-year old girl had been playing and fell in a hole.

"The deafening sounds of that child screaming regardless of what's in the way puts you in a position just to react," he said.

And not just any hole; a dark well about 15 feet deep.

"As a parent, you don't want to hear that scream and I immediately needed to get down to her," said Washington.

Washington, with the help of some other coaches, positioned himself and inched his way down to the little girl.

"You pray on the way down and it's in God's hands. My job was to get to that child. 12 years in the military, I think instinct kicked in. No man left behind," he added.

On his way down, he gripped the walls tight.

"I was in an awkward position that eventually put my legs to sleep. I couldn't feel my legs," Washington said.

But he made it to the bottom.

"She wasn't moving, just screaming and then she put her arms around me. I knew in that moment everything was going to be okay," he said.

Washington couldn't climb back up safely with the girl, so he focused on trying to keep her calm until first responders could get to them.

"She sang the itsy bitsy spider to me so that calmed her down a little bit," he told WDRB.

The hole was narrow and dark.

They were stuck for an hour and 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, above ground, fire crews were preparing for the rescue.

"It's simply not a matter of just jumping in after a person. There's a lot of things you have to assess," said Captain Gerald Shively, Louisville Fire Department.

They sent a flashlight down to Washington and he was relieved the girl didn't appear to be injured or bleeding.

"When I turned on the light, there was spiders and bugs down there that she didn't like either," he said.

The first rescuer went down head first and from that point, it was teamwork that finished the job.

"We both were able to put her on a backboard and secure her in order for them to lift her out of the hole," Washington added.

Another firefighter went down after Washington.

"When I got back up, I wasn't expecting the crowd that had gathered," he said.

"I commend him on what he was able to do and that he was able to do that without him being injured himself also. Very thankful for the whole outcome of it," said Shively.

"I don't like being called a hero. It was a reaction. I did what I hope most would do," Washington concluded.

Washington stayed in the hospital overnight and says he's fine minus some soreness.

The little girl was treated at Kosair Children's Hospital and released.

Russell Lee Park is closed until crews fill that hole and others they found.

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