Law enforcement on Tuesday released body cam footage of a Florida police officer saving an infant from drowning, despite being unable to swim herself.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Me’Atia Sanderson saved the life of an infant drowning in a retention pond in June. The video showed Sanderson rushing to help the child, pulling him out of the water, then performing CPR until paramedics arrived.
In the body cam video, Officer Sanderson arrives at an apartment complex and immediately dashes toward a retention pond behind one of the buildings. “Help! Over here!” A woman can be heard shouting. Sanderson rushes towards her. “Where’s the baby at?” the officer asks.
“In the pond,” the distraught woman responds, pointing into the water. “He’s somewhere under there,” she adds.
Spotting the infant in the water, Sanderson and the woman both rush into the water. “Oh s***, Oh Lord,” Sanderson exclaims as she wades into the pond.
“I’m getting him, I’m getting him,” she continued.
The camera is fully underwater for several seconds as Sanderson can be seen retrieving the baby from the water, then clambering back onto the grass.
“Put him down,” she tells a man standing over the child. Sanderson then performs CPR on the child. “Come on baby,” she says as she compresses the infant’s chest and performs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Paramedics arrive shortly afterward.
“Ofc. Me’Atia Sanderson joined JSO in March of 2019,” the post read. “As a patrol officer in Zone 4 (Westside), Ofc. Sanderson was working on June 9th of this year when JSO and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department were dispatched to an infant drowning in a retention pond. Sanderson was the first to arrive on scene and was alerted that the infant was still in the water. Ofc. Sanderson, who does not know how to swim herself, without a second’s hesitation, entered the pond to retrieve the child and performed CPR until she was relieved by other responding officers. Her actions, while putting her own life at risk, undoubtedly saved the child’s life.”
The driver of the vehicle lost control while trying to get on an exit ramp off the Florida Turnpike. The vehicle then overturned and slid into the pond. Footage of the dramatic rescue showed at least one police officer lying on the bank of the pond in a prone position, looking down the sights of a rifle towards the pond.
Other images from local media showed other officers carrying rifles at different areas around the banks and at least one alligator swimming in the pond with its head above water.
Divers were able to rescue the two people in the vehicle, but one of them died at a local hospital shortly afterward.