MIAMI — A Miami police officer shared his heroic efforts with Local 10 News on Friday after rescuing an autistic 10-year-old boy who fell into the Miami River this week.
The incident took place in the Allapatta area around 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday.
Miami police officer Ernie Fernandez told Local 10 that he was distraught after the incident as his 4-year-old son Dillon also has autism.
“This is a big challenge. I go to therapy, my child goes to therapy for four hours,” he said.
On Thursday, local 10 received new body camera footage showing the moments Fernandez rescued a drowning boy.
Authorities told Local 10 that Fernandez was patrolling the area when he saw a child walking along the river. At some point, the child disappeared from Fernandez’s field of vision, and a few seconds later he saw the child struggling after falling into the water.
“He (Fernandez) jumps into the river right away, doesn’t even think about losing his body camera, but it is able to save a child, and that’s the whole point,” Miami police captain Freddy Cruz said on Thursday.
“As soon as I put him in there, I saw that the child was having trouble breathing, and that’s when I put my left hand behind his back, gave him a couple of blows to his stomach, and water came out of his mouth,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez told Local 10 that there was a moment in the rescue that hit him.
“I put him in the seat and then he kissed me on the lips,” he said. “At that moment, I knew he was autistic because that’s what my child does. It was a moment of gratitude when you do something for them and my son is also autistic.”
Fernandez said he was grateful to be in the right place at the right time.
“I think about my son and I think about him and how I was around him,” he added.
Police told Local 10 News the boy was in good condition and when his family arrived at the scene, they were in tears and filled with gratitude.
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