MIAMI (TodayNews) — The Miami police officer who rescued a drowning autistic child from a river in Miami speaks out after being hailed as a hero. A video from a TV camera released on Thursday showed the consequences of the officer’s quick wits.
On Friday, officer Ernesto Fernandez was thrilled when he spoke about his heroic rescue because he was relevant to the situation. The child he rescued is on the autism spectrum and Fernandez knew exactly how to handle the situation because his son is also on the spectrum.
Fernandez was about to take time off and was already on his way home when he spotted a boy running past his patrol car without shoes in Allapatta, along the river.
“I asked him, ‘Where is Mami? What are you doing here alone?” Fernandez asked. “He didn’t tell me anything. He continued to run, but he began to run even faster.
Fernandez knew something was wrong. He got out of the car and followed the child.
“When I started running and looked at the water, I saw ripples in the water,” he said. “At that moment, I realized that he had jumped.”
Without hesitation, Fernandez jumped into the river and pulled the boy out.
“That’s when I put my left hand behind his back and gave him a couple of punches in the stomach, water came out of his mouth,” Fernandez said.
After rescuing the child, Fernandez realized that the rescue had taken place very close to home.
“I managed to get to the platform and I put him on the seat of the boat that was there, and then he kissed me on the lips,” he said. “At that moment, I knew he had autism because that’s what my child does. It’s like a moment of gratitude when you do something for them. My son is also autistic.
Fernandez has a 4 year old son named Dylan.
Fernandez and Dylan
After the chaos of the escape was resolved, his feelings calmed down.
“I think about my son. I think about him and that I was there for them,” said Fernandez.
The child was reunited with his family.
As it turned out, the 10-year-old boy left the house and single-handedly crossed the busy 20th NW 27th Avenue at 3:00 pm. But Fernandez was the only one who realized something was wrong and he couldn’t be more grateful.
“Every day I feel the same pain as they do, and I would be grateful to you for being there for him,” Fernandez said. “I know for a fact that if he wasn’t there, we would have had a different conversation.”
Fernandez now hopes to meet the 10-year-old’s family again to talk to them, as well as their child. He hopes to stay in this boy’s life
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