One heroic police officer braved cold waters to rescue a drowning woman on Friday.
Boston police officer Edward Norton is being hailed as a hero after he jumped into the Fort Point Channel to save a unidentified woman during a torrential downpour.
Norton told the New York Daily News that he instinctually jumped into the water when he heard that there was a woman in need of rescue.
“She was in there calling for help and I can swim,” Norton later told WHDH TV in Boston.
“I didn’t really have time to think at all,” Norton later told the Boston Globe. “It was either go or watch her struggling, so I certainly can’t stand on the side and watch her drown.”
Another officer on the scene was able to throw a life preserver to Norton as he swam out to the drowning woman.
“One of the other officers had been given a life preserver from someone else -- I think it came from the Tea Party Museum, so that helped a lot,” Norton explained to WHDH. “I was able to hold on to that while she was holding onto the life preserver, while holding onto the raft that was out there."
Both Norton and the woman were able to cling to the life preserver until the fire department arrived and pulled them out of the freezing water.
The rescued woman suffered hypothermia and was taken to a local hospital along with Norton and two others. She told authorities that she had fallen into the water by accident.
"He didn’t hesitate ... (he) took off his belt and jumped into the water swam over to get her,” bystander Hal Munger, who recorded the rescue, told WHDH.
“That’s no easy feat for anybody who has been in cold water before,” Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said to the Boston Globe. The water at the time of the rescue was about 40 degrees.
Norton lost his glasses and wedding ring during the rescue.
On Monday he was honored for his heroism by the police department.
“It’s really a remarkable show of heroism, immediate action, and courage that made a difference this Christmas for a family,” Davis told reporters at a press conference. “There’s a family out there right now that’s going to have a good Christmas today because of the acts of Officer Norton.”
Norton, however, doesn't think of himself as a hero. He told the New York Daily News that the rescue was just part of what police officer and fire fighters are trained to do.
“If we don’t help, then no one’s going to,” Norton told the news source.