ORLANDO, Fla. – An 8-year-old boy was taken to a hospital in critical condition Tuesday after deputies say he fell into a canal near an elementary school and was pulled out by a friend.
The boy, identified as Shamore Franklin by his father, Milton Williams, fell into the water around 3:30 p.m. near Riverside Elementary School.
Shamore remains in an induced coma and likely suffered brain damage, Williams told News 6.
"I wish no one would have to experience what I'm feeling right now," said Williams.
Another boy pulled Shamore from the canal before first responders arrived.
Brittney Brown said her son acted fast and jumped into the water to save his friend.
"I'm upset about it because he knows that's not a path that I told him to take,” Brown said. "Someone called me and said that my son -- they thought that he was the one that was drowning. But they said, 'No, he was the one that saved him.'"
A neighbor told News 6 that he heard children screaming from behind his house and saw them running.
Detectives said they believe the boy scaled a fence and tried to cross the canal on a concrete walkway next to a pipe, but something caused him to fall 10 feet into the 3-foot-deep water.
"There's brush, there's a chain-link fence, there's a lot of obstacles, but these are children and sometimes people can scale things," said Jane Watrell of the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "I can't really say how they got back there, but it is a pretty well fenced-off area."
Ken Hunter, who lives next to the canal, said the fence has a hole in it.
"It's gotten bigger in the last week," Hunter said. "It started maybe like a dog could crawl under it, and it just kept getting bigger and bigger."
On Wednesday, county workers repaired holes in the fence and added additional fencing around the perimeter of the canal. Williams said the repairs should have been made sooner.
"It's a little bit too late for that because somebody has already paid the price," said Williams. "Even though my son did do a wrong he would've had never did it if the state would've done their job."
A spokesperson for the Public Works department said the county makes routine monthly checks, but was unaware repairs were needed around the canal.
"We've got a large area that we're trying to control with fences, but kids either cut a hole in the fence, climb under it, climb over it and it's hard to control that," said Public Works Coordinator Jeff Charles.
Williams said more should be done to prevent something like this from happening again.
"This is a wake up call. If you've got other pieces of property like this you should be looking at them. Examining them. Especially in a school zone area," said Williams.
And parents who send their kids to Riverside Elementary said they think there should be another crossing guard on Pembrook Drive.
"We have discussed that before in the PTA meetings, about another crossing guard I'm not sure if it's in the budget or not," said Millie Valenti, whose daughter attends Riverside Elementary School.