An Arkansas emergency medical technician is being hailed as a hero after rescuing a 4-year-old girl who tumbled out of a moving van onto a busy highway on Wednesday.
Ryan Ciampoli, 31, said he was riding down a Harrison highway when he saw the back door of the white church van swing open in front of his vehicle, NBC News reports. Footage of the incident, captured by Ciampoli’s dash cam, showed the little girl falling out of the van and tumbling down the road.
“It was unbelievable. Once I picked her up and put her in my arms it was heartbreaking. She just had this horrified look on her face,” he told NBC.
“Nothing hurts worse or makes you sad … than dealing with a child. Especially holding her in your arms. You’re never gonna forget that image.”
He told ABC News that the little girl was unconscious at first, but soon woke up and began calling for her mother.
“I saw it happening and it blew my mind, it’s like I wasn’t even seeing what I was seeing,” he told ABC.
As an EMT, Ciampoli said he would never normally move a trauma patient, but he needed to get the child out of harm’s way.
“Obviously, you want to leave her laying there, you know, if she’s not in danger, but we’re in the middle of a state highway so I couldn’t leave her just laying there.”
Ciampoli told ABC that the driver of the bus initially didn’t know what happened and returned to the scene about 15 minutes later.
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The little girl was taken to a hospital where she was treated for a broken jaw, according to NBC. She was later released and is expected to make a full recovery.
Meanwhile, Tim Hampton, a pastor at the Christian Life Center Church, told ABC that the church would not use that van again.