A Utah boy nearly died after falling through an icy in a pond on Christmas Day, but a determined sheriff’s deputy was able to save the boy — by punching through the ice with his bare hands.
The incident happened in the town of St. George on Monday. According to the St. George News, the boy and his siblings were playing near the pond when the family dog ran onto the ice and the eight-year-old boy tried to retrieve him. The boy ended up breaking through thin ice, and other children were unable to help him.
The children ran to alert other family members, who called 911. Aaron Thompson, a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, was the first to arrive on the scene.
Alone and with no special equipment to handle the frigid waters, Thompson decided that he could not wait for help and immediately went into the pond. The boy had last been seen close to 25 feet from shore, so Thompson began making his way out into the water, using his bare hands to punch a path through the ice.
“Sergeant (Aaron) Thompson made the personal decision to attempt rescuing the victim without the aid of specialized equipment. Thompson stripped his police gear and immediately entered the water to locate the child,” Lieutenant Dave Crouse said in a statement issued on Christmas night (via the St. George News).
Thompson later told ABC News that the further he got into the pond, the thicker the ice grew. After a while, he could no longer break it with his fists and instead started to jump on the ice with his full weight to break it.
Thompson found the boy under the ice and brought him back to shore. The boy was airlifted to a hospital, and Thompson was also treated for hypothermia as well as cuts he suffered while punching through the ice.
The boy remained in the hospital, and there was no information available on his condition, Fox 13 Now reported.
Thompson later recalled the harrowing rescue, saying he knew he had to act quickly. As ABC News reported, the boy was in the 37-degree water for close to 30 minutes by the time the sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene.
“I couldn’t feel anything. I didn’t notice anything when I was doing it,” Thompson said. “I knew that time was of the essence. I had a very short window to get that child out of the water.”
Aaron Thompson added that he was hopeful the boy would be able to recover.