A mother and her 2-year-old daughter who fell into the frigid waters of the Passaic River were rescued by a hero police chief who jumped into action, according to a report.
Elmwood Police Chief Michael Foligno grabbed a red kayak and clawed his way 50 yards into the frozen river to help save the toddler and her mother, 37, who were barely holding on.
"She was basically holding the baby with one arm and keeping herself afloat with the other," Elmwood Park Police Chief Michael Foligno told WCBS. ”Thirty seconds felt like 10 minutes. The mother was screaming. She said she couldn't hold the child anymore. I couldn't sit still and do nothing."
Firefighters assisted and brought the canoe to shore.
Foligno said the pair may have been in the icy waters for up to 40 minutes.
A man who called 911 for help told WCBS at around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday he saw someone in the icy waters and said, “What is she doing in the middle of the river?
"They were walking in the middle of the river… Next thing you know, I didn't see both of them," the witness said. "She was struggling. I kept telling her to stand still, but she was scared and afraid … I couldn't help much because it was too dangerous."
The mom and toddler were taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson and are expected to recover.