Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Aaron Thompson had gone through several icy rescues in the past, so he knew what to expect when emergency dispatchers told him that a boy had fallen into a frozen pond on Christmas Day.
“I knew time was of the essence, I had a very short window,” Thompson told KSTU. “I knew exactly what I was getting into when I went into the water.”
Thompson was the first person on the scene Monday afternoon after witnesses reported a boy drowning beneath the ice after chasing a dog into the water.
After a woman showed Thompson where she’d last seen the boy’s hand come out of the water, he made his way onto the ice and began stomping around to break it, he said.
“I started using my hands and fists to break the ice to get where he was, as the ice got thicker I couldn’t break it with my arms and fist anymore so I had to jump on it to break it,” he said.
At one point, Thompson’s entire body was in the freezing cold water, his head barely above the ice, he said.
“Using my tip toes floating in the water about my neck I couldn’t touch the bottom but I could feel the reeds so I had a good chance moving my arms eventually I was going to bump into him.”
Once he did find the boy, he immediately knew “he wasn’t in good shape,” he said.
While Thompson was treated for hypothermia and deep cuts he sustained on his arm from punching through the ice at the hospital, he knew the boy he pulled out of lake was in a nearby room.
The sergeant deflected attempts from others to call him a hero.
“Everyone huddled around that room to see the child had the best chance of success, they’re the real heroes,” Thompson said. “If there was heroes that night it’s us it’s not me, I was just the one that went in the water.”
The boy is still at a children’s hospital. Officials have not released his name or an update on his condition.