ROCHESTER, NH (CBS) – A 10-year-old autistic boy is safe thanks to his fast-acting principal.

Andrew Brown fell through the ice Wednesday on the Cochecho River in Rochester, New Hampshire. The fifth grader’s parents couldn’t be more grateful for what happened next.

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“She’s a hero to me and I’ve always said she’s like a second mom,” says Andrew’s father Chris.

Andrew who is autistic was out for a walk with a school aide. When it was time to go back in, he took off, running through a wooded area. His footprints lead right to a frozen river. A second set of footprints belong to Principal Gwen Rhodes.

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk reports

The principal chased Andrew across one stretch of ice. Then they got to a dry spot. Andrew ran across and slid down an embankment, landing on the ice below.

Rhodes yelled stop. Andrew did, but the ice cracked beneath him. He was submerged up to his chest.

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Without hesitation, his principal slid into the river.

“Without even thinking, no coat, nothing she went in and grabbed him and hoisted him up on some ice,” says Chris Brown. “If she wasn’t there, he would’ve been under. He would’ve been under the ice.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports

Both were treated at the hospital for hypothermia. Andrew hammed it up for the WBZ camera, but his principal is keeping a low profile.

“She doesn’t want to be put on a pedestal, but she should be on one,” says Chris.

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She may not think she is a hero, but Andrew’s parents disagree.