Newly Released Prisoner Dives Into Septic Tank And Saves Girl From Drowning

January 13, 2014

septic tank

A 2-year-old Arizona girl is recovering after falling through a damaged septic tank lid and nearly drowning. 

One man dove in after her while another got her breathing again.

The girl was walking with her mother Saturday morning on West Papago Road, near the city of Maricopa, when she stepped on the lid, said Pinal County Sheriff's spokesman Tim Gaffney.

Gaffney said the tank's plastic cover had apparently collapsed under the girl's footing.

Some good Samaritans attending a swap meet nearby heard the mom's screams.

Henry Ricketts was one of them. Ricketts, newly released from prison, went in head first to try to save the child.

man saves child septic tank
Henry Ricketts / Photo credit: Howard WaGGner/News of Maricopa

"I inhaled some of the nasty water, so I had to come back up," Ricketts told CBS 5 News.

Eyes closed, Ricketts couldn't find the baby on the first try. Plenty of time had passed with no sign of the child.

Eyewitness Barbara Fowler described the scene.

"They pulled him back up, but they couldn't find her," Fowler said. "Immediately after that, another gentleman went in head-first, and they had a guy on either side holding each of his feet and dropped him down in there and he dug around and came up with that baby, by its arm."

Fowler said the child was lifeless when they brought her up. Immediately, a young woman, later identified as a nurse, stepped in and started CPR and mouth-to-mouth and revived the girl.

"We saw that baby breathe again," Fowler said.

Gaffney said the child was taken to Cardon Children's Hospital where she is recovering.

Source: / Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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