FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A 12-year-old boy from Indiana has been hailed a hero after he saved his younger sister, who had a near-drowning experience after falling through the ice on a frozen pond.
Faced with a crucial decision of whether to get his father or call 911, Tony Buuck instead raced into the icy waters to rescue his 8-year-old sister, Sammy.
It was a decision that has made him a local hero, though it’s a title he doesn’t want.
"I think a lot of people wouldn't have done it. I don't want to have all the glory and stuff," Tony told ABC News .
Tony was playing basketball in the driveway of his home near Fort Wayne when Sammy fell through a frozen pond near their backyard Saturday.
Tony heard the cries of his younger sister and dashed across the ice to try and save her. The thin ice beneath his feet cracked, causing him to fall in as well.
"I began by taking my arms and sort of just putting it under her shoulders. I realized that wasn't going to work, so I grabbed her coat hood," Tony said.
The children's father, Dale Buuck, eventually rushed to the icy pond to save his children, but the ice once again gave way.
Dale managed to thrash through the ice and frigid waters to help pull Tony, who kept a tight grip on Sammy, to shore.
"The more I pulled him up he still had her by the coat, and he never let go of her in the cold water. [Tony] treaded water that whole time, with one hand and never let go of her," Dale said, with tears in his eyes.
Sammy was unconscious and not breathing when she was pulled to shore. Dale stood with his daughter when quick-thinking Tony ran back home to call 911.
"My sister is Samantha and she was standing on the ice … and she fell in," Tony told the 911 dispatcher.
The dispatcher relayed instructions to Tony, who then shouted them out to his father, who remained with Sammy and administered CPR.
"Her face is almost completely purple," Tony told the dispatcher. "I tried to keep her head above water, but I’m not strong enough."
Emergency workers eventually reached Buuck’s home, and all three were treated and released from a hospital.
"I really thought I wasn't going to survive," Sammy said after the harrowing incident.
While the EMS crew was credited with reviving Sammy, it's her big brother who is credited with saving her life.
"He says he's not a hero, but he sure is my hero and his sister's hero," Dale said.