On Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 2 p.m., Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu will present “Life-Saving Awards” to three good samaritans who saved the life of a two-year-old child. The awards will be presented at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in front of our law enforcement memorial located at 971 Jason Lopez Circle, Florence, Arizona. At the ceremony, the child whose life they saved, her mother and grandparents will all be present to recognize and appreciate their help.
On Saturday, Jan. 11, at 11:47 a.m., the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office began to receive several 9-1-1 calls related to a 2-year-old child who had fallen into sewage/septic tank behind the Farmer’s Market located at 49301 West Papago Road, Maricopa.
Deputies and medical personnel were immediately sent to the call.
The young female child had been chasing her dog in a nearby dirt area. The child stepped on top of a 21-inch plastic cover, which covered the opening of the sewage/septic tank. The cover had three cracks ranging in size from 4 to 10 inches. When the child stepped on the cover, it flipped open and the child fell into the tank and went completely under the sewage inside of the tank.
The child’s mother began to scream for help. Several good samaritans in the area ran over to help. Henry Ricketts (age 27 of Maricopa) and Audencio Rios (age 29 of Standfield) immediately jumped into the tank to try and locate the child. The bottom of the tank was 75 inches from the top of the tank and the tank contained 50” of raw sewage. The men swam around in the tank until one of them could feel the child’s hair. The child was pulled up and handed off to Chelsea Cunningham (age 28 of Alberta, Canada)
Chelsea immediately began to perform Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on the child who was not breathing. After a short time, the child began to breathe on her own and started to cry. It was estimated the child was under the sewage for approximately four minutes.
Medics from Southwest Ambulance arrived on scene and took over the medical care of the child. The child was taken to Cardon Children’s Hospital by ground ambulance.
The child will be released from the hospital today and is expected to make a full recovery.
Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “These three heroes risked their own safety to intervene and save the life of a complete stranger who happened to be a young child. Had it not been for these three heroes the young child would have certainly died. It will be my honor to present them with life-saving awards on behalf of the family, our office and the citizens of Pinal County.”