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'IT'S A TRAP!': Child's instincts rescue 8 ducklings from roadside storm drain

11-year-old Kaiden Porter saw a duck in the road. He went out to stop traffic, but realized 8 ducklings had fallen into a storm drain near his Grand Haven home.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — A residential neighborhood in Grand Haven turned into a full-blown emergency scene Saturday as several ducklings had to be rescued from a roadside storm drain.

If it wasn't for the instincts of an 11-year-old boy who lives nearby, the ducklings likely would have never been found.

On Saturday, May 8 around 1 p.m., Amanda Opalek went outside and saw a mother duck with three of her ducklings in tow, creating a traffic jam at the corner of Ferry and Woodlawn Streets.

"The duck looked really upset," said Opalek.

Opalek called for her son, Kaiden, who was inside the house. Kaiden came out and began trying to direct traffic, so the mother duck and her ducklings could scurry to safety.

"I thought they were just trying to cross the road, got hung up in the middle and were freaked out," said Kaiden, who is a sixth grader at White Pines Intermediate School in Grand Haven. "Every time I tried to push the [mother] duck, she wouldn't move."

For some unknown reason, Kaiden decided to go look down the roadside storm drain that's located directly in front of his house.

It's a good thing he did.

"There was like eight baby ducklings sitting down in the drain," Kaiden said.

Kaiden said he started to take the iron grate off the front of the drain, but it was too heavy. 

Credit: Mackenzie Kuechenmeister
A recent Saturday afternoon for 11-year-old Kaiden Porter went into the drain. Literally. He played a role in rescuing 8 ducklings from the drain.
Credit: Mackenzie Kuechenmeister
A recent Saturday afternoon for 11-year-old Kaiden Porter went into the drain. Literally. He played a role in rescuing 8 ducklings from the drain.

"A kind man stopped and helped me," Kaiden said. "Once we got the sewer open, we were able to grab three [ducks], then I called the cops."

Twenty minutes later, Grand Haven Police and Fire Department vehicles rolled up, and began working to get the remaining ducks out of the drain.

Credit: Mackenzie Kuechenmeister
Members of Grand Haven Police and Fire Departments were flat on their bellies, doing all they could to coax the ducklings out of the storm drains.

"The ducklings kept running under the road and appearing in three different drains," Kaiden recalled. "While the rescue personnel continued to try and get the remaining ducklings, the mother duck went and sat behind our backyard shed."

Kaiden said it took about an hour, but all the ducks were retrieved safely, brought back to the mother duck and the fully intact family of ducks waddled away.

Credit: Mackenzie Kuechenmeister
Once all 8 ducklings were rescued from the storm drain, they were reunited with their mother. The little duck family then waddled away.

"It's kind of crazy when you think about it," Kaiden said. "I think it was all perfectly timed.

"Had my mom not gone outside when she did, saw the ducks, then called for me, there may not have been a happy ending."

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