A college student in Indiana has become a local hero after leaping into freezing water to save a cat on Christmas Eve.
Darden Schurg, a 21-year-old senior wrestler at Wabash College, was visiting family in the city of Hobart when he spotted the cat walking over thin ice before falling into the water.
“I knew there was short time so I had to act fast,” he told IndyStar.
His sister-in-law, Hilda Schurg, posted a video of the rescue ― complete with captions and added music ― on Facebook on Dec. 24. Darden Schurg can be seen swimming toward the cat before standing up in the water with the animal in his arms.
He told NBC Chicago that his “hands and feet” were numb and he had cuts all over his body when he got out. Officials say what the man did was dangerous and advise others not to do the same, the outlet said.
Schurg gave similar warnings in his Facebook post about the incident.
“I only took the risk after considering all of my options and ensuring my safety above all else,” he wrote. “I would not recommend trying this unless you are sure of your capabilities, the body only takes minutes to shutdown when introduced to freezing waters.”
He added, “I love animals and wildlife so I felt it was only right to take a quick dip in the lake to rescue the cat.”
Schurg and his family believe the cat was a feral and lives outside ― but though the cat growled and hissed, there was no scratching or biting.
“I kind of took the hisses and the growling as a thank you,” he told ABC 7.
Schurg said he laid the cat in the sun to dry, and told local media that the cat seemed to quickly recover and was off. Hilda Schurg also noted in a Facebook comment that the cat was simply too feral for them to take with them, but seemed OK after the ordeal.