The body of an 11-week-old boy was found in a submerged vehicle in Pax, W.Va., on Friday after heavy rains poured across the state this week and caused dangerous flooding in some rural parts, the authorities said.
On Friday morning, after up to three inches fell in some areas over two days, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office said its dispatch center received a call from a woman saying that her vehicle was stuck in high water in Pax, which is in the southern part of West Virginia.
The woman, whose name was not released by the sheriff’s office, told dispatchers that her infant child was in the back seat, but she couldn’t find him, the authorities said. She had tried to rescue the baby from the vehicle, but it “was swept away,” officials said.
At about 2:30 p.m., deputies found the vehicle “completely submerged,” with the boy inside, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
“We cannot stress enough, the importance of not driving through floodwaters,” the sheriff’s office said. “Water depth is very hard to judge, as well as it is hard to judge the speed of moving water.”
Deputies interviewed the woman and learned that she had “misjudged the depth of the water” and driven on the road “until she realized it was too deep,” the sheriff’s office said.
The area where the vehicle was recovered had water as deep as 18 feet, officials said.
Bob Oravec, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that the mountainous geography of the state means that “when it rains really heavy, the water can go down really quick,” increasing the chances of flash flooding.
The rain ended early Friday morning, he added.
The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office said the episode remained under investigation.
“Please join us in praying for the mother and the family,” the sheriff’s office said.