Galveston officer saves drowning boy

June 16, 2010 4:12:21 AM PDT
A Galveston police officer is getting praise for risking his life to save another's. He was patrolling near San Luis Pass when someone ran up to him and said a relative was drowning. And that officer didn't hesitate to jump into the dangerous waters.Sunday started out as a typical day for Galveston Police Officer Christopher Sanderson on the San Luis Pass Bridge.

"I was actually in a traffic stop; I had three subjects detained," Sanderson said, "and I had few citizens run up to the area where I was and advised me that we had a swimmer in distress."

Officer Sanderson immediately stripped off his shirt and gun belt, grabbed his lifeguard buoy and swam out into rough waters and a parallel current.

Out in the water, he found a 14-year-old boy struggling to stay afloat.

"I just swam out there and got to the swimmer, and he was having a difficult time," Sanderson said. "He couldn't catch his ground. He was bobbing his head up and down."

The officer handed the boy the buoy and dragged him to shore against choppy waves. The teenager went to the hospital to be checked out.

On Tuesday night, he was fine, even though he swallowed sea water during his near-drowning and rescue.

"Basically, he was out a little too far," Sanderson said. "When I got out to him, I realized he was in over head-high water. It was over my head."

Officer Sanderson spent four years as a lifeguard with the beach patrol, although he is currently in remission from bone cancer.

But even though the boy is alive tonight, Officer Sanderson doesn't consider himself a hero.

"I was just doing my job," he said. "Any other one of these guys would have done the exact same thing that I did."


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