Neighbors, Officers & Firefighters Recognized As Heros In Pond Rescue
By: Alex Mazer, Multimedia Content Producer - email
COLUMBUS, Ohio -
Neighbors, firefighters, and police officers didn't hesitate to help save a man and a child from drowning in an icy pond at a southeast apartment complex Thursday evening.
Officer Christopher Smith-Hughes and fellow Columbus police officers risked their lives going into an icy pond to rescue the 5-year-old boy and the man who drowned helping him survive.
"He pushed the child up. He was actually underneath the child; and you could see the child going up," said Smith-Hughes.
The officers say that is when their instincts kicked in.
"They pulled up right in front of me. We ran around the side. Dropped our belts, and jumped in the water to see what we could do," said Officer Christopher Lieb.
Within a few minutes, the officers began to realize they could also have been victims.
"The fire department put out a ladder across the ice. I tried to jump on the ladder and the ladder broke down through the ice and I went in," said Lieb. "Right when you hit the cold water you instantly start freezing up 33 short breath, chest feels like it's constricting."
Fire crews were able to get everyone out of the water.
After 61 minutes in the frigid water, the little boy was rescued.
James Jenkins, the man who jumped in to save the boy, died trying to keep him above the water on Thursday. He was in the icy water for 49 minutes.
"He was a hero. I mean, he did something that was unbelievable," said Officer Logan Ramsier.
The officers say they wish they could have done more.
"We're here to do our best and when you fall short it's sad," said Smith-Hughes.
The young boy's condition was last reported as critical.
The officers told NBC4 that they have been called to the Eastland on the Lake apartment complex on the city's southeast side for a few drownings and reports of stolen cars found in the pond.
They all think there should a fence around the pond.
Neighbors say little kids should never be unsupervised around it.