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Band of strangers, ex-con save girl from septic tank

  • A group of people in Arizona helped save a toddler from a septic tank fall
  • One man was just released from jail two weeks ago
Band of strangers, ex-con save girl from septic tank

When a toddler fell into a septic tank Saturday, it took a group of concerned strangers to get her out -- and one of them had recently been released from prison. 

The 2-year-old girl was walking with her mother in Maricopa, Arizona, when she stepped on a septic tank lid. The lid collapsed under the girl's feet and she fell into a tube full of murky, foul water.

People nearby heard her mother's cries and rushed into action. Henry Ricketts was one of the first men on the scene, and he dove into the tank to help save her. 

"I inhaled some of the nasty water, so I had to come back up," he told HLN affiliate KPHO

In order to get the baby out, another man had to go into the tank head-first, with two people holding his ankles. When they finally pulled the girl out, she wasn't breathing. Another person, a woman who later identified herself as a nurse, initiated CPR. 

Eyewitness Barbara Fowler described the shocking scene to KPHO. "We saw that baby breathe again," she told the station. 

The girl is now recovering at a local hospital, and all of the rescuers came out of the ordeal unscathed or with minor injuries. 

In case you lost count, that's at least three people who went to great lengths to help save the girl. Ricketts, the first man to wade into the tank, was released from prison just two weeks ago. He told KNXV that he is determined to turn his life around, and coming to the girl's aid was second nature. 

"I would have done it for anybody. I have a son too," the 28-year-old said to KNXV.

Bystanders said they were blown away by the selflessness of the girl's rescuers. "I'm proud to be in their presence, to know people come together like that," Barbara Fowler told KPHO. "They were astounding."

Hear more of Ricketts' account of the ordeal at KPHO

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