A 2-year-old girl on a walk with her mother, fell into a septic tank after the plastic lid buckled under her. Luckily, there were several good samaritans shopping at the nearby swap meet that helped save her life.
The unidentified girl was drowning when Henry Rickets heard her mother’s cries for help. Henry jumped into action without hesitation and went in search of the girl. As reported by the NY Daily News, the determined hero was released from prison, serving a sentence for drug charges, just two weeks prior and vowed to turn his life around. He told KPHO CBS 5 News, "I inhaled some of the nasty water, so I had to come back up.”
Witness Barbara Fowler recalled, "They pulled him back up, he couldn't find her and immediately after that, another gentleman, two men grabbed him and then he 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."
The toddler’s face was blue and she was not breathing when she came up from the septic tank after being submerged for several minutes. Another fortunate chance came when a passerby, later found to be a nurse, lent her expertise. KNXV ABC 15 also spoke to Barbara Fowler who said, “This angel, this young woman who came and took control, started CPR and gave her mouth-to-mouth and the little child started showing some signs of life.” Paramedics arrived and took the girl to Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona. The 2-year-old is recovering at the hospital and is in stable condition.
Henry told KPHO that people asked him, “’What made you go in there?’ I said, “Well first of all there’s a little girl in there. Doesn’t matter, what it’s, what it’s in.’ I have a son too so I would do that for anybody.” That selflessness moved Ms. Fowler as she witnessed it and she told the station, “Proud to be in their presence, to know that people come together like that. They were astounding.” Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu expressed the department’s gratitude as well, “We want to thank and appreciate them. Hold them up as an example for heroism.”
The septic tank is now covered with boards and blocked off with caution tape. Investigators with the Sherriff’s office are looking into the incident to see if the septic tank owner will be cited for improperly securing the tank.