WEST BROWARD, Fla. – A 1-year-old boy who was ejected after a pick-up truck overturned on Interstate 75 was found dead Thursday.
The child was located by a diver in water nearby where the crash occurred.
The crash happened around 4:30 p.m. Thursday near Mile Marker 28. A preliminary investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol said the cause of the crash was a tire blowout on the Nissan Frontier mid-size pick up, but the investigation is still in the early stages, FHP troopers said.
“The vehicle swerved into the right and rolled over several times,” FHP Lt. Yanko Reyes said.
A car seat was located near the wreckage.
According to a press release from the FHP, the boy was not in a child restraint and no one in the vehicle was wearing a seat belt.
Broward County Fire Rescue transported three children and three adults from the scene. Two of the injured adults were reportedly the baby’s mother and father.
Family members were able to tell first responders that the child was missing.
“Some of the deputies actually went into the canal searching for the missing child,” Reyes said.
As the frantic search for the boy was underway in the first hour, Chief Michael Kane, of Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, said: “We have a small window of opportunity to locate this child. It’s a race against time.”
Around 5:45 p.m., it was no longer a search and rescue mission, but a recovery mission. With each hour that passed, it was less likely that the baby would be found alive.
For nearly five hours, the eastbound lanes of Alligator Alley were shut down. Multiple agencies searched the area. From above, drones and the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s helicopter helped in the search. On the ground, as many as 50 firefighters canvassed the area. Also, K-9 units were called in to go through the thick grass. Divers searched the murky waters of a nearby canal. When the truck was pulled from the muddy embankment, BSO divers made the tragic discovery.
“We conducted a thorough search and we were able to find the deceased body of the 1-year-old male,” Reyes said.
The Davie Police Department assisted in the recovery mission along with BSO.
The Florida Highway Patrol is continuing the investigation.