A Utah police officer who plunged into a frozen pond on Christmas Day to save an 8-year-old boy who fell under while chasing his dog is being hailed as a hero – even though the selfless public servant insists that he was just doing his job.
Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Aaron Thompson was swift to answer the call when the boy’s friend reported the harrowing incident to the police, NBC News reported. Thompson was dispatched to a frozen pond in southern Utah’s New Harmony on Monday afternoon.
“You never know exactly what you’re going to get into,” he told reporters the following day. “I just made the decision that I was going to get him.”
Upon arriving to the scene, Thompson walked a few feet out on the ice before attempting to punch through with his hands.
“The ice got thicker, and I couldn’t break it with my arms and my fists,” he recalled. “So I started to jump up and down on it using my body weight.”
The tactic worked. Thompson, a trained rescue diver who once worked for the sheriff’s dive team, was relieved to discover that the conditions were conducive to a successful rescue.
“The clearer the water, the colder the water, the younger the individual,” he said, the higher the chance dive teams have to recover a living person.
Thompson searched the area where he had broken through but did not find the boy. He told reporters that while he briefly panicked, he was able to rely on his prior training to find the boy in another part of the pond.
Neither the boy’s name nor his condition have been disclosed. Thompson was treated for cuts, bruises and symptoms of hypothermia and was cleared to work the next day. Despite his miraculous feat, Thompson does not want any special attention.
“It’s not me, it’s us,” he said of the various crews and individuals who contributed to the boy’s rescue and treatment. “That’s the real story here. I was just the one that went out into the water.”