COON RAPIDS (AP) -- High school swimming lessons helped make Leon Jones a hero when he saved a 12-year-old boy who fell through thin ice on a pond.
Using a lifesaving technique he practiced at Como Park High School in St. Paul, Jones, 21, saved Chaevele Johnson about 7:30 a.m. Friday. Authorities said Johnson wandered onto the ice while he waited for his school bus.
Jones jumped from a second-story balcony after hearing Johnson's scream for help, authorities said. He swam to the middle of the pond and pulled the unconscious boy from the icy water.
"It was very, very close. ... He certainly deserves kudos," said Denny Nothnagel of the Coon Rapids Fire Department.
Nothnagel estimated that if the boy had stayed in the water much longer he would have suffered more severe injuries. Johnson was listed in good condition Friday at Children's Hospital of Minneapolis.
Nothnagel said that when firefighters arrived they found Jones cradling the boy in his arms while standing near the shore of the pond. Firefighters quickly took the boy inside a building at the nearby Wellington Ridge apartment complex.
Jones, who moved to St. Paul from Chicago seven years ago, was modest about the role he played in saving the boy's life.
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