Two teen boys are being hailed as heroes after they rescued a child who had tumbled over a cliff and into freezing waters last Wednesday.
14-year-old Riley John and 16-year-old Seth Gerrin were wandering through Cope Park in Juneau, Alaska when they saw a 5-year-old boy fall down a 15-foot slope and hit his head on a rock in the stream below. As he was being carried away down the river, Riley jumped into the water and swam after the boy.
“He flew down and I was like ‘Oh my God, that’s a really far drop. He hit a rock really hard. He then fell into the water,” Riley told Inside Edition. “I really don’t know what I was thinking. I reacted as fast I could.”
Securing a grip on the water-soaked clothes worn by Mason Varner, he was able to pull the boy into a safer part of the river. When Riley’s strength failed, he then passed the body off to Seth, who ran Mason to paramedics.
The teens left before Mason’s mother Kristen Hemlock could properly thank them, but she later posted a plea on social media asking if anyone knew the identity of the boys. Riley’s grandmother saw the post in a Facebook group and responded to Kristen.
Riley and Seth were later honored during a financial fair at Yaakoosge Daakahidi High School. According to the Juneau Police Department Facebook page, government officials rewarded the boys with a Governor’s citation, among other goodies.