With an 8-year-old boy under the ice of a frozen pond and time running out, "I just made the decision I was going to go get him," says Sgt. Aaron Thompson. The officer in Washington County, Utah, was one of the first officers on the scene after the boy fell through the ice around 5pm Christmas Day while chasing his dog. Thompson, a former member of the sheriff's dive rescue team, removed his police gear, stomped a hole in the ice, and went in. "I knew how cold that ice would be," he told reporters Tuesday, per KSL. "I've dove under the water before." Thompson punched a path through the ice as he searched for the boy, calling out his name as he grew increasingly desperate. He went on tiptoe through reeds as he reached an area where it was too deep to walk.
"I knew time was of the essence," he says. "I had a very short window to get that child out of the water." He finally found the boy under unbroken ice and brought him to shore. The boy was hospitalized and his condition has not been disclosed. He had been in the water for around 30 minutes, though Thompson says it was so cold that they are "really hopeful" he will recover, NBC reports. Thompson was treated for hypothermia and received stitches for cuts he received breaking through the ice, but he was back at work Tuesday. He says he shouldn't be singled out for praise because dispatchers, paramedics, and doctors also played important roles. "If there was a hero that night it's us, it’s not me," he says. "I'm just the one that went in the water." Authorities say the boy's dog also survived. (Read more rescue stories.)