SANTA ANA (CNN Newsource) — A little boy in Southern California got to thank the police officers who saved his life in person.
Cardin Nguyen fell into a rushing river bed while out with his brother and babysitter. And it took six people to get him out.
The day after a storm, dog walkers and bikers could not wait to leave their house. And neither can 8-year-olds.
“We went there taking pictures of neat stuff,” Nguyen said.
And like most courageous little boys, Nguyen found the Santa Ana river bed really enticing until he fell in on Saturday afternoon.
“They told me to stop from the beginning,” Nguyen said.
Faced with the cameras at the Santa Ana Police Department, Cardin seemed to forget how he ended up floating away.
But his older brother remembers just fine.
“We told him not to go in the middle, but he just wanted to go in there,” brother Andy said. “And he got sucked away.”
And being 12 and a great big brother, Andy didn’t hesitate.
“Then I jumped in to try to save him, but then i went past him,” Andy said.
So in jumped their babysitter and all three people were floating by struggling, screaming for 17 blocks.
“It was very cold,” Nguyen said.
“It was fast-moving and it wasn’t stopping and every time I tried to stood up, it just pushed me back down,” Andy said.
A homeless man living along the river bed saw them and jumped in too.
Everyone trying to help this little boy.
“The man who entered the river, he was going under water because he was trying to keep the kid afloat,” Gabriel Esparaza said.
By now, 911 calls had made their way to these four Santa Ana police officers.
They’re not trained in river rescues, but sometimes, it doesn’t matter.”
“I’m a father of three and if police officers responded to a similar call with my kids in danger, I would want them to act,” Esparaza said.
So just like the Good Samaritan, the babysitter and the big brother all four officers jumped.
But this time it worked.
“He was able to grab a hold of the child,” Officer Rick Velasquez said. “I was able to grab a hold of the lady in the water and the two newer officers they were able to help the Good Samaritan.”
Andy ended up getting out on his own a few blocks away.
Cardin doesn’t want to talk about it.
“It’s scary being on the news,” Cardin said.
But he does know what to say when someone helps.
“Thank you!” Cardin said.
And although the 8-year-old may not yet know the gravity of his actions, that is OK because he has a big brother who will likely remind him forever.