Sergeant Aaron Thompson is being hailed as a hero after he punched through a frozen pond on Monday evening in order to save a young boy who had fallen through the ice 30 minutes beforehand.

The 8-year-old from New Harmony, Utah had been chasing his dog when a neighbor saw him fall into the water.

Thompson arrived on the scene and immediately started punching and jumping on the ice so he could break the surface. After suffering a few scratches on his forearms, he successfully punched through the ice and dove into the pond.

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With water up to his neck, the sheriff’s deputy moved his arms through the water until he found the youngster drifting nearby.

The boy is currently being treated at a local hospital, and Thompson says that – because of the water’s temperature, the boy’s age, and the amount of time he was in the water – he feels optimistic about the 8-year-old’s survival.

UPDATE: Authorities say that the boy, who has only been identified as Jason, awoke on Wednesday morning and has been coherently answering questions from medical staff.

(WATCH the deputy’s interview below)

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(Photos by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office)