Principal rescues student from icy river

Published: Jan. 27, 2012 at 10:26 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM EST
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(Photo: CNN/WMUR)
(Photo: CNN/WMUR)

ROCHESTER, NH (CNN/WMUR) – Gonic School Principal Gwen Rhodes said she was simply doing her job when she jumped into the Cocheco River Wednesday to save a 10-year-old student who had fallen through the ice.

"Everyone worked as a team and reacted quickly," said Rhodes.

The boy, who has autism, ran away from a teacher and through the woods behind the school onto the frozen river after a morning break. Both the teacher and Rhodes took off after the boy and saw him come to a stop on a patch of thin ice.

"And then the ice started to break so the first reaction was I needed to get him out of the water keep his head above water and get him back up the embankment," said Rhodes.

Rhodes was able to get the boy and use trees along the river to pull them both to safety.

"We were able to work our way to the edge and I used a tree to brace my foot that was kind of under the water and I pushed him upward and got him out of the water," said Rhodes.

While many are calling her a hero, she insists she was just in the right place at the right time.

"This is just something that was a circumstance and you did what you needed to do when the circumstance happened, but what we do every day is what makes people that work in schools heroes."

Officials say the student who fell into the river was treated for exposure and is doing fine.

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