Off-Duty Officer Saves Man From Drowning at Walden Pond in Concord

An off-duty Massachusetts police officer is being credited with saving a man's life at the same pond where another man drowned less than a day earlier.

Arlington Police Officer Matthew Riley was spending his day off with his three and five-year-old children at Walden Pond in Concord on Monday morning when he first spotted a woman.

"She kept yelling, 'somebody help, somebody help,' and when I came down she pointed to the gentleman in the distance," Riley recalled.

A 70-year-old man had gone under the water and did not return to the surface. Riley immediately jumped into the water and swam out to where the man was last seen.

"I just jumped in the water, swam out, grabbed him, pulled him back to shore," Riley said. "His arms were still above the water a little bit, still flailing. He was struggling."

By time first responders arrived, the man was already conscious and breathing. The man was then transported to Emerson Hospital for an evaluation.

"It was a relief to see he was OK. I looked over to see if my kids were still there," Riley recalled.

His kids were there, watching the whole rescue.

"Officer Riley’s actions are in line with the best practices of law enforcement, and he is to be commended for saving a life here today," Concord Police Chief O’Connor said. "He took immediate action when he noticed another in danger, and we are very fortunate that he was in the right place at the right time."

Monday's incident was the second emergency at Walden Pond in just 24 hours.

Police say a 28-year-old man was swimming with his friends in Thoreau's Cove on Sunday evening when he went underwater and never came back up.

His body was found in about 12-feet of murky water, 20 yards from the shore. Police said he was underwater for about an hour before he drowned.

Authorities said the 70-year-old victim was very grateful to Riley and thanked him right after the incident.

"Right place at the right time. Many other people would have done the same thing," Riley said.

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