Young man with autism helps rescue toddler

Published: May. 11, 2016 at 8:02 PM EDT
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SOUTH POINT, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A young man from southeast Ohio is being credited for helping save a toddler from nearly drowning. Despite not being able to talk much, Aaron Cahal, who's autistic, helped alert South Point Police about the near drowning, and helped lead them to the scene in a most-unusual way.

"He sent me a text that said he heard a scary cry," Aaron's father Steve Cahal said.

It turns out, Aaron heard the screams of a neighbor after an 18-month-old child fell into a pool and nearly drowned. Cahal, who doesn't speak much, didn't hesitate. He grabbed his iPhone and started snapping pictures of the scene. He then posted the pictures to the South Point Police Department's Facebook page. Luckily, an officer on duty recognized the area and was able to get to the scene.

"I'm still having a hard time absorbing all of this," Aaron's mom Lorena Cahal said. "It doesn't surprise me because that's his lifeline, but it surprised me that he got involved."

Aaron's dad says his son frequently uses his smartphone and is rarely without it.

"He took pictures with his phone and, of course, he always has that phone with him," Steve Cahal said. "That's how he communicates with everybody and he was able to correspond with South Point Facebook page to get the authorities in the right place."

South Point Police Chief Chris Majher credits Cahal's quick action, as well as the actions of another neighbor who gave the child CPR until EMS arrived on scene, for saving the young child's life.

"It shows he's a problem solver," Chief Majher said. "He solved that problem immediately. He knew he couldn't translate that into words to be in a quick enough response that we could use that information. He knew a picture was a thousand words, and he gave it."

The Cahals say they've been overwhelmed with the response on social media.

"My Facebook is blowing up," Lorena Cahal said. "His website is blowing up. He was part of saving a life. there's no words to explain it."

The family of the 18-month-old child who nearly drowned say the boy is still recovering in a pediatric intensive care unit. The family has now set up a GoFundMe account ( to help pay for expenses. They say they fully appreciate Aaron, and hope to one day meet him to thank him for his heroic actions.

To visit the GoFundMe account, click on the related link with this story.