Watch: Police Officer Saves Autistic Child From Drowning in River

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Footage captured from a local NBC news affiliate shows a police officer saving a young autistic boy on Friday evening from nearly drowning in the river.

The dramatic scene, which unfolded around 5 p.m. local time in South Bend, Indiana, found a boy and his mother walking when the 5-year-old suddenly took off sprinting.

MORE: Watch: Family Praises Police Officer After He Rescues 4-Year-Old With Autism From Pond

WNDU reports that the mother had trouble keeping up as she was also carrying her 3-month-old child.

Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources tells the news agency that South Bend Police Officer, Reid Spitaels saw the young boy in the St. Joseph River at Howard Park and “without hesitation” jumped into the river with full police gear.

The Indiana DNR released a statement this evening commending the officer’s bravery.

“Officer Spitaels exemplifies what it means to be a police officer by taking extreme risk to his own life to save the life of another,” the statement read. “His actions are nothing short of heroic.”

When asked by the South Bend Tribune if he had attempted a rescue like this, the patrolman said, This is the first time I swam in the water with a bunch of gear on.

The local paper reports that the boy was taken by paramedics to a local hospital and did not appear to be seriously injured.

Related:

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Tania Hussain |

Tania Hussain is a native of Toronto and a Hoosier at heart, studying journalism at Ball State University in Indiana. She has a mad love for fine cheese, film, music, and meeting people upon her many travels. When Tania’s not writing at Womanista, she can be found going for long nature runs, rooting for the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Cardinals, photographing sights and food, or writing for her online magazine, The Hudsucker. She is also a member of the Indy-based, Society of Professional Journalists—one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists.