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Aurora police rescue boy who fell through ice in retention pond, woman who went in after him

Aurora police officer speaks after rescuing 9-year-old boy, woman from pond
Aurora police officer speaks after rescuing 9-year-old boy, woman from pond 02:33

AURORA, Ill. (CBS) -- Police officers do and see a lot on patrol – but the efforts of some Aurora officers are leading many to call them true heroes this Thanksgiving Day.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported, the officers jumped into chilly waters the day before Thanksgiving to save a 9-year-old boy who had run out to get his football and ended up falling through the ice.

Around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, a 911 call sent officers to the Fox Pointe apartment complex in Aurora. The call was for a person drowning – a 9-year-old boy who had fallen into the water and couldn't get out.

Officer Andrew Soderlund answered the call.

"We're driving there," Soderlund said. "You're kind of playing that scenario through your head = what exactly are we going to see when you we there?"

Officer Soderlund and his partner jumped out and headed right to the pond – where the 9-year-old boy had fallen into the icy water.

Onlookers directed the officers in the boy's direction. The child had fallen in trying to get his football – yet when the boy went on the frozen pond, the ice cracked.

By the time officers arrived, 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.

Officer Soderlund ran back to his squad to grab a rescue kit.

"I know I'm not an Olympic swimmer, so I knew that hey, I'm not going to be able to swim with the two other people in the water," he said.

Soderlund pulled out the rope and tied a knot around his waist – then jumped in.

"That adrenaline dump that goes on in situation like that - I don't remember the cold at all," he said.

Yet the water was dangerously cold – and Soderlund quickly learned it was deep too.

"I originally started walking out, I was like, 'Wow, this isn't bad – I can stand up,' and then it just dropped," he said. "It felt like it was no bottom."

When Officer Soderlund got out to the retention pond, the first thing he did was take off his bulletproof vest - because it would have weighed him down to the point where he could not have gotten to the woman and kid.

"I wanted to be as light as possible," Soderlund said.

TWO OFFICERS INJURED RESCUING A DROWNING CHILD Just before 4:30p.m. on Wednesday, Aurora’s 911 Telecommunications Center received reports of a 9-year-old drowning. Aurora Police officers and Aurora Firefighters were dispatched to the scene. When officers arrived, they found a 9-year-old boy who had fallen through ice and an adult woman who had gone in to attempt to save the child. Officers were able to determine the 9-year-old had entered a frozen section of a retention pond in attempt to retrieve their football. When the 9-year-old entered the frozen section of the retention pond, he fell through the ice into the cold water. Multiple officers deployed water rescue kits while two officers swam to save the drowning child and the adult female who were in the water. In a combined effort, officers were able to safely return to land with the child and the woman. The child sustained minor injuries and was transported to an area hospital by the Aurora Fire Department. Two Aurora officers who swam to rescue the child sustained minor injuries and were transported to an area hospital by the Aurora Fire Department. The female adult was treated on scene and was not transported. Everybody was released from the hospital in stable condition.

Posted by Aurora Illinois Police Department on Thursday, November 24, 2022

The mission was a success. Facebook video released by Aurora police showed 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, a chill hit Soderlund.

"One of my partners actually, he helped me unbutton my shirt because my fingers weren't working," Soderlund said.

The two officers who had been in the water, the woman, and the 9-year-old all went to the hospital to get checked out. Everyone was safe Thanksgiving night.

"I thought my son was not going to be here to see Thanksgiving," the boy's mother said in the Facebook video posted by police Thursday. "Somebody was out there to call 911."

She thanked everyone who stepped in to call 911, and everyone who helped rescue the youngster.

But Soderlund said, "I don't consider myself necessarily a hero."

On Thursday, officers brought the boy a new football to play with on Thanksgiving.

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