Heroic Deputy Pulls Drowning Boy from Frozen Pond

A sheriff's office photo shows the scene in New Harmony, Utah, on Monday night where a deputy dove into a frozen pond to pull out an 8-year-old who had fallen in.
Washington County Sheriff's Office

Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Aaron Thompson punched through the icy surface of the water to rescue an eight-year-old boy on Christmas Day.

A hero emerged from the inky darkness of an early winter’s night on Christmas Day, arms torn and bloodied from jagged shards of ice. Thirty minutes after plunging into the frigid water while chasing his dog, an unidentified New Harmony, Utah, boy was drawn out by former search and rescue dive team member Sgt. Aaron Thompson.

The accident was first spotted by another child, who rushed inside to tell his family. By the time his family had alerted the authorities and Thompson had arrived on the scene, the boy had already been in the water for about half an hour. Strangely enough, the near-freezing temperatures may well have helped save the boy’s life, preserving him as he drowned. Still, there was no time to lose: Thompson tore off his police gear, then punched through the surface of the pond with his bare fists as the ice sliced into his forearms. He then made his way 25 feet from the shore of the pond to rescue the boy.

While the unnamed victim’s condition remains unknown, Sgt. Aaron Thompson is fine. He was treated for cuts, abrasions, and symptoms of hypothermia. After all of this, Thompson minimized the blatant heroism of his actions, simply stating that he “knew what he was getting into.”

Thompson is not the only hero during this remarkably vicious winter. In Plymouth, Massachusetts, a mysterious Good Samaritan saved the life of 15-year-old Caleb Seamans after he, too, fell through ice that he had presumed safe. Caleb’s family hopes to thank the stranger for his help.

Others have not been so fortunate — and even the most experienced among us can find ourselves imperiled by heavy clothes, extreme temperatures, and deep water. Jeffrey Selleck, 26, was pronounced dead at the scene after falling through the ice on which he was fishing.

As always, prevention is best: those intending to spend any time in or close to the water during this season should follow tips for winter water safety from The ZAC Foundation; they are important to remember. Be careful out there.

You can find Nate Church being a huge nerd @Get2Church on Twitter.

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