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It happened around 10:30 a.m. in the 1500 block of River Road in Fuquay-Varina.
Jana Anderson told ABC11 that she and her son, Ben, were out for a day of fishing, when his foot slipped on the riverbank and he fell into the water.
She said she did not think before she went in after him and the current took them down the river.
She reached him and said because he's been swimming since the age of 5, they managed to get to a point in the water where they could grab a tree branch and wait until help arrived.
"When we saw some debris lodged in the water I started yelling to go for it .. and we hung out on that tree until some wonderful people came along and rescued us," she said.
The mother told ABC11's Anthony Wilson that they are very thankful to the rescuers in Harnett County.