Lifestyle & Human Interest

Officer Dives into 'Freezing' Water To Save Two Teenagers from Drowning


Officer Luis Salas of the Canton Police Department in Canton, Georgia, responded to a call about two teenagers in distress at 6:30 p.m. April 21.

A boy and girl had become trapped in the river at Etowah River Park. Clinging to branches trailing in the water, the teens waited desperately for someone to save them.

When Salas arrived on the scene, he stripped off his excess gear and got into the river, swimming to where they were.

“The both of them are holding on to this branch, and they’re scared and they’re panicking, so I tell them calmly, ‘Hey, I’m Officer Salas, I’m here to help you,'” he said in an interview posted on Facebook by the Canton Police Department.

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The young woman told Salas that she didn’t know how to swim, complicating the issue further.

After Salas calmed them down and reassured them that he would help, other officers arrived and threw a rope and a buoy to the trio stranded in the river.

Salas had the girl take the buoy and proceeded to get her out first. On the way out of the river, the buoy got snagged on a branch, but Salas was able to snap it off and they continued on their way.

After the girl was rescued, the boy was freed from the current as well.

Thanks to Salas’ actions, both were on dry ground in no time.

The two teens were given blankets so they could warm up, and the girl spent a short time at a nearby hospital.

Salas said the water was “freezing.” Thankfully, he’d had training to deal with just such a rescue.

“I’ve been in the Marine Corps, so I have taken swimming qualifications many times, and it’s always been in cold water. Always,” he said.

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Since the rescue, many have voiced their thanks for Salas’ involvement and pride for their hometown heroes.

“On behalf of the Canton Police Department, we thank you Officer Salas and your team for the heroic efforts,” a Canton Police Department spokesman said, according to WAGA-TV.

“Honored to know the amazing Officer Salas — and always proud of Canton PD,” wrote one commenter on the department’s post. “Thank you!”

“Great job Salas along with awesome support from your fellow Officers,” wrote another. “Proud to have served with you!”

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