CHURCH HILL — Two Hawkins County teens who got stuck in the muddy bottom of a pond while “frog gigging” late Thursday night were treated at the Holston Valley Medical Center for early stages of hypothermia.
Shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday the boys, ages 13 and 14, were frog gigging in a pond near 1280 Okalona Road north of Church Hill when one of the boys accidentally fell into the pond.
The water was only about 18 inches deep, but the first boy sank another two feet into the mud and became stuck with the water up to his chest.
Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Yates said the second boy jumped in to help his friend escape and became stuck in the mud as well.
The boys were stuck for nearly an hour before someone discovered them and called 911, and at 10:50 p.m. the CVVFD was dispatched to the pond.
Yates was the first to arrive on the scene.
“When we pulled up on the scene we were met by some family members who had attempted to pull them out,” Yates told the Times-News Friday. “Right away I realized this was going to be a lot more difficult than I anticipated. We actually had to lower a ladder into the pond, and climb down in there, and stick our arms down into the water and dig the mud away from their bodies to pull them out.”
Yates added, “There was probably 18 inches of water, two feet of mud or more. The mud had sucked them down, and we had to dig the mud away from them to break the suction to pull them out.”
Yates said the boys had been in the mud for between 45 minutes and an hour before he arrived, and it took another hour to get them out.
“It was cold last (Thursday) night, and being stuck chest deep in water and mud for two hours, they were shivering,” Yates said. “As soon as we got them out we stripped them out of their wet clothes and put them in the fire truck with the heat on. I knew once I got something I could stand on without sinking into the mud myself, I knew we could take our hands and just break the seal on the mud.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t deeper and we were able to get them out without any serious injury.”