VIDEO: Officer swims through icy water to rescue 9-year-old boy

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 2:43 AM CST
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AURORA, Ill. (WBBM) - An Illinois police officer is being hailed as a hero after saving a 9-year-old boy who fell through the ice in a retention pond.

A 911 call reporting a person drowning sent Officer Andrew Soderlund and his partner to an Aurora apartment complex around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“We’re driving there. You’re kind of playing that scenario through your head: what exactly are we going to see when we get there,” Soderlund said.

Upon arriving, Soderlund and his partner jumped out and headed right to the icy retention pond, where a 9-year-old boy fell in trying to retrieve his football. A woman who tried saving the boy was also stuck.

“They were pretty far out there, and obviously, they weren’t making any way of getting closer to the shore,” Soderlund said.

Body camera footage released by police captured Soderland running back to his squad car to grab his yellow rescue kit.

“So, I know I’m not an Olympic swimmer, so I knew I’m not going to able to swim with the two other people that were in the water,” he said.

A 9-year-old boy, pictured with his mother, fell into an icy retention pond while trying to...
A 9-year-old boy, pictured with his mother, fell into an icy retention pond while trying to retrieve his football. His mother thanked everyone who helped rescue him.(Source: Aurora Police, WBBM via CNN)

Soderlund pulled out a rope, tied a knot around his waist, then jumped into the dangerously cold water. He quickly learned the pond was deep, too.

“That adrenaline dump that goes on in a situation like that, I don’t remember the cold at all,” he said. “I originally started walking out. I was like, ‘Wow, this isn’t bad. I can stand up.’ And then, it just dropped. It felt like there was no bottom.”

The mission was a success. Body cam video shows officers in the water and throwing out ropes on the shoreline to rescue the boy and the woman.

But once everyone was out of the water, the chill hit Soderlund.

“One of my partners, actually, he helped me unbutton my shirt because my fingers weren’t working,” he said.

The officer and the two people he rescued all went to the hospital to get checked out. Thankfully, everyone is safe.

The boy’s mother credits Soderlund’s heroic actions in saving her son.

“And I want to thank all the people who rescued him out there,” she said.

Still, Soderlund says he doesn’t consider himself a hero.

Officers brought the boy a new football to play with on Thanksgiving Day.