In what a Utah boy's father calls a "Christmas miracle," the 8-year-old is "awake and coherent" after spending up to 30 minutes submerged in an icy pond on Christmas Day. The Washington County Sheriff's Office says the boy, identified only as Jason, is "doing very well" after a dramatic rescue, NBC News reports. The boy, who fell through ice 25 feet from shore while chasing his dog, was rescued by a sheriff's deputy who removed his police gear and entered the pond instead of waiting for a dive team. In a statement, the boy's family thanked the public for the "prayers and thoughtful messages they have received during this difficult time." After the rescue in New Harmony, Jason was airlifted to a hospital.
"The father said Jason's situation has been an example to their family that 'God hears and answers prayers,'" the sheriff's office said, per Deseret News. The office said Jason has been responding to questions from family members and hospital staff. Sgt. Aaron Thompson, the officer who pulled the boy from the pond, says he "just made the decision" to go in the water. He was treated for cuts and hypothermia. Sheriff Cory Pulsipher tells the Spectrum that Thompson is a hero. "A lot of people would probably like to think they would have dived in too, but how many actually would have?" the sheriff says. "He hates having the spotlight on him, but he's a hero."