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Belleville man grateful for rescue from waist-deep mud

BELLEVILLE, IL – John Crawford and the blue and gold Mcaw he cares for are well known in parts of Belleville.  Crawford takes the bird to a park and lets it fly around a couple days a week.  That’s what he was doing Sunday when the bird named Amigo flew a greater distance than expected.

Crawford chased after Amigo but found himself stuck in several feet of mud that had a quicksand-like feel to it.  Park visitors saw Crawford stuck in the waist-deep mud and called 911.  The Belleville Fire Department responded and shared a video of the rescue.

Belleville Fire Chief Tom Pour said the call came out as a water rescue but when firefighters arrived they found Crawford surrounded in the mud.  There were several feet of mud because a lake in the park is in the process of being dredged.

“I didn’t know the lake was that soft,” said Crawford.   “I knew it was going to be muddy, but I didn’t think it was going to be quite as deep as it was.”

Firefighters threw Crawford a buoy and stretched a ladder to pull him to safety.  Pour said if no one called 911 for help, there’s no telling if Crawford would have survived.

“Workers might have found him this morning,” he said.

Crawford had nothing but praise for the firefighters who rescued him.

“Makes we want to cry,” he said.  “They were so good.  They saved me."

Pour said his department was familiar with Crawford and Amigo because they’ve seen them around town.

“I know he was chasing his bird,” said Pour, “You know, try not to put yourself in a situation where you can’t get help for yourself.”