Officer saves boy and father from flooded river in Blairsville

BLAIRSVILLE, Pa. — “I have three kids. I’d expect somebody — and hope somebody — would go in and help me out with my kids,” officer Andrew Ong said.

Blairsville police officer Andrew Ong is a parent who said it may have just been instinct that kicked in the day a father and his son needed to be rescued from fast-rising water by the Riverfront Trail last month.

”We could hear the dad asking for help and asking if anybody was available to come in and help get his son,” Ong said.

He was assisting on the call when the Blairsville’s water rescue boat was launched into the Conemaugh River last month after flooding trapped a father and his 7-year-old son.

”They had two boats in the water at the time, just where the 2 people were. They couldn’t get the boats to them because of how far into the woods they were,” Ong explained.

Without hesitation, officer Ong took off his gear and braved the 53 F water, which came up to his chest.

”The dad was up to the neck in water and had his son on his back, so I grabbed the kid and threw him on my back, and dad said he’d be fine,” Ong said.

They all made it back to dry land.

The boy was flown to Children’s Hospital for signs of hypothermia but was home within a few hours.

The actions Ong took that day earned him a Medal of Valor from his department and a chief’s letter of commendation for his life-saving efforts that day.

”I wasn’t really expecting to go in, but whenever there’s a kid involved, it’s second nature.”