Rescuers save missing girl from swamp

By Suzanne Boyd - bio | email

WINTER SPRINGS, FL (WFLX) - Nadia Bloom is already out of the hospital after being found Tuesday morning. She was found covered in bug bites and scratches, but amazingly okay.

Rescue workers pulled 11-year-old Nadia Bloom out of an alligator infested swamp and carried her to safety on a makeshift stretcher.

After missing for four days, she was alive but dehydrated.

"I just burst and ran to tell my wife," said her father, Jeff Bloom.

"Nadia's in good condition. She has insect bites head to toe and no shoes, her feet water logged," described Chief Kevin Brunnelle, Winter Springs Police Department.

Rescuers had to wade through the muddy swamp and cut down brush with machetes to pull the girl out. But it was just one man, James King, a friend from church, who discovered Nadia Tuesday morning near a local lake.

He was taken to police headquarters. "That was a rough swamp, but Nadia was very brave," said King.

When King discovered her, he sent his wife this text message: "I found her. She's safe in my arms."

Nadia disappeared on Friday near her subdivision in Seminole County Florida. Her sister led police to an area where they often play, but it was a difficult search.

Hampered by dense undergrowth in the swamp, her family believes the girl, who has an Autism related disorder called Asperger's Syndrome, just wondered off. "Our daughter loves the outdoors."

What could have ended in disaster, instead, ended with crowds gathering outside the ambulance where Nadia and her parents were reunited inside.

Authorities are interviewing King to find out what led him to the girl, but the police chief says, he has no reason to think of him as anything but a hero.

When crews finally got to her, Nadia said, "I can't believe you guys rescued me".