Toddler rescued, revived by mother, sister after falling into septic tank

A boy fell into a septic tank. (Photo:
A boy fell into a septic tank. (Photo:

A Buckley toddler who nearly drowned in several feet of raw sewage after falling into a septic tank Wednesday was cleared by doctors to go home with his family Thursday -- after they checked him for infections from inhaling and ingesting the foul liquid.

Explore>> Read more trending news

Two-year-old Thorin Hess was rescued from the septic tank by his mother and resuscitated by his 12-year-old sister, who says she had never learned CPR.

“I just saw him step onto the lid, it flipped open and like a flash. He just went straight down, and I started screaming,” said Thorin’s sister, Madi Hess, who was playing with her brother in the backyard of their grandparents’ Edgewood home.

The boy was completely submerged in sewage, according to his mother, Marcia Hess. The tank was only lit by daylight from the hole above. In a panic, Marcia grabbed a shovel, desperate to reach her son.

“I put the shovel down in the water trying to find him, and the shovel grabbed his foot, and so I pulled him up to the top,” said Marcia, who told her daughter to reach the boy’s leg. “I did, but then his shoe slipped off, of course,” Madi said. “So he fell back down."

Marcia started trying to squeeze her body through the hole. “I could see him dying, so I just called out to God, just praying, ‘Get me down there, get me to my son!"’

“My arms went up, and (the small opening) took my shirt and my bra with it, it was such a tight space," Marcia said.

Marcia was bruised, cut and bleeding, but she says she found Thorin, who was limp and not breathing, and she raised him up to his sister.

"I didn't even know what to do," said Madi, who started chest compressions with every passing second, hoping for any sign of life. “God took my hands and just did it for me," she said. “I just put my palm on his chest and pressed really hard.”

A Pierce County dispatcher guided Madi to keep the compressions going. “Then, Thorin started gurgling, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, he's still alive!’” Madi said.

After paramedics raced Thorin to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, his family says he had a raging fever, and doctors worried he'd have infections from breathing and swallowing sewage. But 24 hours later, doctors declared the boy healthy, and ready to go home.

The Hess family says there's only one explanation for how Thorin is still alive and kicking.

“This is an absolute miracle,” Marcia said. “From beginning to end, it was an absolute miracle."