SAYVILLE, N.Y. (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — A little girl up to her neck in the icy waters of Suffolk County’s Great South Bay was pulled to safety after falling through the thin ice.
CBS 2’s Lou Young reports how she got in such a perilous position, and how she got back to dry land.
Sarah Talhammer broke down for a moment, remembering what it was like in the icy water. The 11-year-old fell through the ice, into Great South Bay, struggling with a neighbor’s rambunctious dog.
“He kind of pulled me down to the beach, and then pulled me out of the ice, and I couldn’t really do much because the ice was so slippery,” Talhammer said. “He dragged me, and we got to a spot where the ice was thin, and I fell through.”
It seemed like a simple enough job for a sixth grader – walking the neighbors dog – but who knew that little pooch, named Ace Ventura, could pull like that? Sarah told Young the dog wanted to go out onto the ice and dragged her with it.
She ended up neck-deep in the freezing water.
The dog was pulled off the ice after Sarah was rescued by a Suffolk County police officer who went out after her.
“The main thing on my mind was to disperse my body weight so that I didn’t fall in, because if I fell in, we had two problems,” Officer Matt DeMattio said.
Officer DeMattio pulled Sarah over the ice some 50 yards closer to shore, finally falling through himself but able to wade the rest of the way in. The officer has left two mothers very impressed – the victim’s, and his own.
“I am grateful to the officer for having saved my child,” Sarah’s mother, Michaela Talhammer, said.
“He knows that’s his job, and that’s what he signed up for, and that’s what he did,” said Officer DeMattio’s mother, Jamie DeMattio. “He did what’s expected of him, and I’m very proud.”
“It was a very good day today,” Officer DeMattio said.
The officer got a hug of thanks at the hospital, as both he and the girl he rescued were released. It was a happy ending to a story that started with near-tragedy and was resolved with quick action.