Autistic teen called a hero after helping rescue sister from quicksand

SENECA, SC (WIS/WYFF) - An autistic 14-year-old is being called a hero after Seneca firefighters say his actions led to the rescue of his younger sister who was sinking in mud.

Fire department spokesman Shane Phillips said firefighters responded to a 911 call at about 5:30pm Tuesday about an 11-year-old girl stuck in mud.

Firefighters said Hannah Crawford and her 14-year-old brother, Jayme, were walking in a marshy area behind their home off of Parris Drive when she became stuck.

Jayme's mother, Kim Crawford, said the children frequently play in the wooded area about a quarter of a mile behind their home. Crawford said beavers dammed up a stream, making the land marshy.

Crawford said Jayme, who is autistic but high-functioning, ran home screaming that Hannah was stuck in the mud. Crawford said she ran to the location, but sank in the marsh and couldn't reach her daughter.

Crawford said she told Jayme to stay with Hannah while she went to call 911. The dispatcher had Crawford take her cell phone back to the location so they could use the coordinates to find Hannah.

By the time fire crews arrived, Hannah was submerged up to her ribs. Firefighters said recent rain had created an area that became like quicksand, so the more Hannah tried to pull herself out, the deeper she sank.

Rescuers used a ladder, rope and harness to keep Hannah from sinking further, and used a shovel to create an air pocket around her. It took firefighters nearly half an hour to rescue Hannah.

Hannah was taken to the Oconee Medical Center for observation. Firefighters said Jayme is a hero because he was able to keep his sister calm while getting their mother to call 911.

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