Little girl saves day

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The Beaufort Marine Rescue Squad used its airboat to rescue a man and dog stuck in pluff mud.
The Beaufort Marine Rescue Squad used its airboat to rescue a man and dog stuck in pluff mud.

Staff reports

An 8-year-old girl played a big role in saving a dog and a man who was stuck up to his chest in pluff mud, according to a police report.

The incident started at about 9:45 a.m. Jan. 16 when firefighters from the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department responded to a report of a person stuck in the marsh near Sycamore Street.

Firefighters arrived to find the city of Beaufort police department on the scene and a man stuck in the pluff mud about 150 yards from shore. He had run after his dog, who had run away into the marsh. Once the man ran in, he also became stuck.

The girl was playing in her backyard when she heard the man yelling for help. She ran  and told her mother, who phoned 911.

Firefighters coordinated with the Beaufort Marine Rescue Squad (MRS), which responded to the scene with its airboat. MRS was able to launch the airboat from an empty lot on Sycamore Street to get to the man.

“Our ability to rely on the all-volunteer Beaufort Marine Rescue Squadron is invaluable to our organization” Beaufort/Port Royal Fire Chief Reece Bertholf said in a statement.

“MRS does a great job mobilizing and getting out to the calls we have in our area where our resources can’t go.

“Without this airboat, we would have had to go the old-fashioned route and access the victim by utilizing plywood in a leapfrog fashion, forging a walkway out to him. It works, but it is highly labor intensive.”

A firefighter accompanied the MRS personnel out to the man, assisted in removing him and his dog from the chest-deep pluff mud, and evaluated the victim for any injuries.

The man was brought to shore and he and his dog were no worse for the wear and returned home.

The man was rescued in under one hour.

The rescue occurred on an incoming tide, and the area the victim was in would have been flooded by about noon that day.

Residents are reminded to think twice before entering the marsh.

“The marsh is a harsh environment for a human to be and you take your safety into your own hands when venturing into the marsh. It is only because of the keen ears of an 8-year-old that (this) did not turn tragic,” according to the statement.