The girl, whose name has not been released, was kicked in the head by a mule that had gotten out of a nearby pen at about 3:30 p.m., authorities said.
Tim Cavender, spokesman for Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services, said Tuesday the child was in critical condition.
Eddie Robinson, Cherokee County assistant fire chief, said immediately following the accident that her injuries were serious.
“She was seriously injured, I can tell you that,” Robinson said, standing outside of Chalcedonia Baptist Church on Highway 5 where the child had just flown away on a helicopter at about 4:15. “Her mom and dad asked everybody to pray for their baby.”
The girl was transported to the church by ambulance and boarded the helicopter for Children’s at Egleston Pediatric Hospital, Robinson said.
Cpl. Autumn Cain of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday the two mules had gotten out of a corral on Nations Drive.
“They were roaming around,” Cain said, adding she wasn’t yet aware of who the owner of the mules were. “They were out (on the street).”
Cain said Cherokee E-911 received a call at 3:33 p.m. to report the roaming animals. Minutes later, the call about the girl came in.
The girl’s next-door neighbor, Thomas Ross, said the incident happened outside his corral, where the girl and her mother were trying to put the mules up until their owner could be reached.
Ross said the girl, who often rides horses, was approaching one of the mules, when it swung its leg out and kicked her in the head.
“You could just hear the pop where it hit her,” Ross said, standing at the spot in front of his corral, where she was kicked.
Ross heard the girl’s mother cry out and saw the mule run off, as the child laid unconscious.
Ross said he didn’t know who the mules belonged to, but they were rounded up and put in his corral until the owner could be found.