Neighbor, dog save Warren County boy from drowning

‘I had a daughter about a year ago, and maybe that paternal instinct kicked in.’
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 5:51 PM CST
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WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - A young Warren County boy is alive Monday thanks to the life-saving acts of a neighbor after the boy fell into a frozen pond.

The pond is located behind the Palmera Apartments in Deerfield Township.

The 10-year-old fell into the pond around 4:30 p.m., according to first responders. He was pulled out almost immediately afterward.

EMS took the boy to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

He is expected to be ok, according to Deerfield Township Fire Chief Chris Eisele.

Austin Hayes says he is the neighbor who pulled the boy from the pond. He says he’s lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.

Hayes explains he arrived home Monday around 4:30 p.m. to find his golden retriever, Red, standing by the door begging to go out.

“As soon as I opened the door, I saw the young kid struggling to get out of the ice,” Hayes said. “Clearly [he] walked across and fell through up to his neck struggling. He kept screaming, ‘I’m getting ready to pass out! I’m tired!’”

Hayes says he saw the boy’s sisters standing by the banks of the pond. As a new father himself, Hayes says he knew he needed to act quickly.

“I had a daughter about a year ago, and maybe that paternal instinct kicked in, and I saw it and all I could think about is what could I grab to get him out,” Hayes recalled.

Hayes’ upstairs neighbor tossed him a tow strap, but it wasn’t long enough. Hayes next began inching his way onto the ice.

“When It’s not frozen, you can see there at the edge that it’s not too deep, so I wasn’t that concerned. If I could go in a little bit, if it would have broke, I would have had wet shoes, worst-case scenario,” Hayes explained. “I just knew I needed about an extra foot of length, and we were able to get it, and he was able to get it around his wrist, and we got him out.”

The quick thinking of Hayes, his neighbors and his golden retriever helped save the 10-year-old’s life.

Hayes says Red knew something was up.

“She knew something because she wanted to go outside, and afterwards I let her back out and she didn’t go to the bathroom. So, something was going on.”

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