ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KOB) - It was not part of the lesson plan, but nearly two dozen New Mexico high school students on a field trip learned search and rescue techniques after they found a homeless man trapped in the Rio Grande.
Authorities rescued Clayton Senn from thick mud after the students heard him cry for help.
"We hear a voice call out from the river and he said, 'hey, can you guys help me?' because he's been stuck in there for three days," student Fabian Wildenstein said.
The student's quick response left Senn in stable condition.
"He's in a bad area," teacher Jason Dewitte said. "You don't wanna go where he's at because it is very muddy; deep mud."
The students eventually called police, which arrived on scene along with an Albuquerque Fire Department crew.
Authorities sent a team in to try and find Senn, breaking a thin sheet of ice as they mucked their way through the marsh.
"It was very tough. We're dealing with a couple feet of mud and then two feet of water over the top of that. The go-in was really slow," said Captain Richard Collado.
Finally, they spotted him.
But, they say once they got there, they realized he was in desperate need of water and warmth.
"He was extremely cold. We had to bring out some blankets to him and some hot packs to try and initiate some warming procedures," added Collado.
Collado says they tried the airboat but they couldn't get through, so they ended up putting him in a dry suit and floating him out.
It took a lot of manpower, but they were able to pull him up the side of the cliff and into an ambulance, he said.
Police said Senn lived near the river, but they are not sure how he got stuck in the mud.
Albuquerque Police Department spokesperson Nelson Sanchez said Senn had a warrant for an assault charge and he will be sent to jail as soon as he is released from the hospital.