Toddler nearly drowns in septic tank


by Christina O'Haver

Video report by Casey James

Posted on January 11, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 14 at 12:30 PM

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PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- A 2-year-old girl is in the hospital after nearly drowning in a septic tank, according to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

It was reported on the 49300 block of West Papago Road, near the city of Maricopa.

Sheriff's office spokesman Tim Gaffney said the tank had a plastic cover but it apparently collapsed when the child stepped on it.

She was pulled from the tank and given CPR.

Jeff Vaughn thought he would be spending the day selling some of his crafts in Maricopa. He had no idea he would end up helping rescue a child from such a terrifying situation.

"All of the sudden someone said a little girl fell down the well," said Vaughn.

Vaughn, who is a grandfather, said he ran toward the child's scream and dove head first into the narrow opening and grabbed the little girl out of the tank.

At the same time, another man held onto Vaughn's ankles and together they pulled the child out of the septic tank that was filled with raw sewage.

The child wasn't breathing, according to Vaughn. It was then that a woman ran over and began giving the child CPR.

"After doing CPR for awhile, she started crying and that was the best thing to hear," said Vaughn.

Paramedics transported her to Cardon Children's Medical Center in Mesa.

Her condition is unknown, but Gaffney said she was crying on the way to the hospital.

There is a concern about infection because of the exposure to raw sewage.