A Utah police sergeant saved an 8-year-old boy from drowning on Christmas Day by breaking the ice of a frozen pond and wading through it.
Washington County sheriff's Sgt. Aaron Thompson responded to a call from the drowning boy's friend late in the afternoon, NBC News reports. The child was reportedly chasing his dog when he fell into the frigid pond in New Harmony. Because they are minors, authorities have not named the boy or his friend.
The pond was frozen over when Thompson arrived. But the former sheriff's dive team member knew he had to go in to rescue the boy.
Thompson noticed the ice getting thicker as he ventured out onto the pond. Realizing he could not break it with his fists, he jumped up and down until it broke.
"Using my tippytoes, walking in the water up to my neck ... I knew eventually I was going to bump into him," Thompson said.
The sergeant added that as a water rescuer, he has been trained to know he has a "golden hour." He said the temperature of the water was a crucial factor in this incident and that he hopes the boy fully recovers.
The water was around 37 degrees, reports The Associated Press. The boy was under for approximately 30 minutes about 25 feet from the shore.
"I couldn't feel anything. I didn't notice anything when I was doing it," Thompson said of his time in the icy pond. "I knew that time was of the essence. I had a very short window to get that child out of the water."
The boy's condition has yet to be disclosed. He is reported to be in a hospital in Salt Lake City.
Thompson fared well, coming out of the ordeal with only cuts, bruises and numbness in his fingers. He was released from the hospital but had some lingering symptoms of hypothermia, reports AP. He expects to be back at work within a week.
Thompson has been praised for rescuing the boy, but he says he's no hero. He believes any officer would have done the same thing. He says he just arrived on the scene first.
"It's not me. It's us," he said, praising all of the other medical, transportation and law enforcement team members who assisted with the rescue. "That's the real story here. I was just the one that went out into the water."
"He hates having the spotlight on him, but he's a hero," said Sheriff Cory Pulsipher, reports AP.