A Fort Campbell soldier saved an autistic teenage boy from drowning as he struggled fighting the Red River’s current in Tennessee earlier this month, Fox News reported.
The teenager’s mother, Martie Weeks, said she was on a tubing trip on the river with her three sons and several friends when a strong current caused by a fallen tree to knock her son, Ronnie Harris, overboard.
“The current picked up, and the tree, along with the rocks at the bottom of the river, created a kind of rip tide,” Weeks told Fox News.
Harris, 17, tried to keep his head above water while standing, but the current was too strong.
Weeks said she tried to paddle to her son, watching as he started to lose his fight against the current and floated face down in the water.
Staff Sgt. Timothy Hansen of Fort Campbell, a soldier who has served 10 years in the U.S. Army with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, dove into the river after seeing the incident and rushed to help the teenager.
“I turn around and I see somebody go under a tree, and I dropped my phone and everything I had in my hands and I took off running to go help and assist,” Hansen told Fox News.
Hansen managed to grab Harris out of the water and performed chest compressions until Harris began breathing again.
“It was just get him out of the situation so we can get him to make sure he’s still breathing,” Hansen said. “At that point I started moving back toward the shore and that’s when I saw his face, and he was spitting up a lot of water and I was like, ‘at least he’s breathing, that’s good.’ ”
Weeks said she was grateful that Hansen took action and helped save her son.
“There were other people in the water in kayaks who just watched, taking out their phones and recording it all,” she said. “They didn’t help, but he did.”
Weeks has since said Hansen is “definitely our hero.”