Tragedy was averted at the Wenatchee River near Leavenworth, Washington, when two off-duty law enforcement officers saved a child from being swept away by the current.
The two men, Kent Police Detective Gilcrist and King County Sheriff’s Deputy Johnson, were vacationing with their families near the river on Sunday, Aug. 2, when they spotted a 5-year-old boy “floating down the river by himself and in a panic,” the Kent Police Department stated in a Facebook post last week.
The water was frigid and fast-moving, yet both men jumped in without hesitation, reached the boy, and calmed him down. They then fought the current to pull him to shore.
“They calmed the panicking child in the middle of the rapidly flowing river for a few minutes, fighting the current and swimming to the shore until the father arrived,” an onlooker recounted, according to the KPD’s post.
“The river was moving at such a swift pace I have no doubt that without decisive action, quick thinking, and lack of hesitation these two men showed,” they added, “while others stood by and watched, the child would have been swept away and ultimately drowned.”
Detective Gilcrist and Deputy Johnson stayed with the boy until his father arrived, King County Sheriff’s Office stated in a Facebook post.
After the incident, the department said that they will be presenting Detective Gilcrist with a Life Saving award after he returns from his “much needed vacation.”
On their post, they said they are thankful when off-duty officers, such as Gilcrist and Deputy Johnson, show their “selfless character,” “bravest actions,” and “compassion” for those in need, and attributed these values for averting what could have been a terrible tragedy.
“[T]heir character is why they became police officers in the first place,” the department added.
KCSO also praised the officers. “We commend them for their bravery and are thankful this little boy made it out of the river safely,” they stated.