Mother grateful after teen son was rescued from mud pit

by: Eric Philips Updated:

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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - The Kannapolis Fire Department rescued a 14-year-old boy Wednesday who was trapped in mud at the bottom of a ravine.

Za'Quan Clyburn's mother said the teen is recovering in the hospital and going to be OK.

She said he is still at Carolinas Medical Center and is expected to be released Friday and make a full recovery.

Doctors are keeping a close eye on the fluid that is building in his body.
 
Friends of the trapped teen said they were crossing through an undeveloped property to take a shortcut to another neighborhood when he walked down the hill toward a pool of standing water.

They said he thought the ground was solid enough that he could walk across it but he quickly became stuck chest-deep in the mud.

Kirk Beard, with the Kannapolis Fire Department, led the rescue. He said his crew was fighting the suction of the mud while trying to keep the teen talking.

“The outcome could have been much worse, but fortunately it was not,” Beard said. “As the incident progressed, those conversations kind of diminished a little bit, and those conversations were concerned about his physical condition and that's the part that became I think pretty emotional for them.”

Friends went to a nearby house and asked a resident to call 911.

Tracy Garcia, a nearby resident, said her heart sank when two boys ran up to her home screaming and asking to dial 911.

"I was like, ‘Oh my God. What in the world has this kid done?’ They said some little boy was down here stuck up in the mud up to his chest,” Garcia said.

It took fire department personnel 28 minutes to free the teen from the mud.
 
Clyburn was immediately treated and transported by Rowan County EMS to Carolinas Medical Center for possible hypothermia.

It didn't take long for Clyburn’s mother Sherra Kimble to realize something was wrong Wednesday when she got home from work.

“An officer was sitting in front of my house,” she said. "He walked up to the car, and told me what was going on and my heart just dropped. He was covered up to his chin in thick mud. He was really cold and they said he was almost on the verge of passing out."

His mother said he was talking and eating at the hospital Friday but still has some issues with aches and pains in his legs -- not a result of hypothermia but the pressure of the mud around his legs.
 
Kimble said she's forever thankful to his friends who got help and the rescuers who risked their own safety to get her son out. 

“Because had they not shown up when they did, I could've lost my child,” Kimble said.