• The family had to get out on the passenger's side of the vehicle
  • When Aaleya Carter exited the car, she slid right inside the drainage
  • Her mother and siblings managed to escape the vehicle and survived

A 12-year-old girl has died in Missouri after the floodwater swept her family's car off the road and close to the drain on their way home from her birthday celebration.

Aaleya Carter was sucked into the drainage system as she and her family attempted to escape the flood at 1:30 a.m. Saturday on Interstate 70 near the St. Louis Airport, reported the New York Post. She was found dead in the afternoon, following hours of search.

According to police, the harrowing incident occurred as the group was attempting to turn away from the direction of the flood.

"This vehicle attempted to go in the water and attempted a u-turn and go back up Airflight road to avoid the flooded roadway," a Missouri State Police spokesman said as per the Post. "As they turned in the water, the current swept the vehicle off the roadway and into that concrete drain opening."

Aaleya's mother, brother and sister were able to escape the car and survived.

"Instead of them being able to get out on the driver's side, they had to get out on the passenger's side," Tanya Carter, Aaleya's grandmother, told KSDK. "I guess they didn't know they were on top of the drainage ditch, and when she got out, she slid right inside the drainage."

Several people, along with Missouri First District Congresswoman Cori Bush, joined a massive search for the girl that took them to one of the nearby airport terminals.

First responders present at the scene scoured the sewage tunnels for the missing girl. The teen's body was found in a creek on the north side of the airport, where the storm drain lets out.

The grieving grandmother said the teen had been out "enjoying her birthday" with her siblings and mother prior to the tragic incident.

"I don't even know. I'm lost. I don't know what to say," KMOV quoted Bridgette Carter, Aaleya's mother, as saying.

According to drivers, floodwater reached as high as two feet on the highway during the storm.

"She loved her momma beyond measures," Tracey Dean, Aaleya's aunt, told KMOV. "So it's going to be hard. It's hard not only for her but her siblings and her family. So, we just want everybody to pray."

A flooded residential area in the Windsor suburb of northwestern Sydney on March 24, 2021.
Flood | Representational Image. A devastating flash flood in Tennessee swept twins Ryan and Riliegh from their father's arms Saturday. They are just two of at least 22 deceased from the weekend flooding. AFP / Saeed KHAN