Group honored for saving 8-year-old boy in Kings River in 2019

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- What seemed like a normal September day with five friends kayaking down the river turned out to be a day many will never forget.

In 2019, Fresno County Sheriff dispatchers took a 911 call for a report of an eight-year-old drowning in the Kings River.

Authorities say Aiden Martin and his family tied their rafts together on the river. That's when some of the tubes popped against branches.

The currents caused the child to go underwater.

After several minutes, a group of people was able to pull the boy from the water, perform CPR, and call for help.

After a remarkable recovery, now 10-year-old Aiden Martin is in full recovery.

"We are all happy to have been in the right place at the right time, taking skills that we've learned from boy scouts, different EMT and firefighting courses in college and just being able to apply that and keep a level head," says Macklin Riffel.

On Wednesday, the Fresno and Madera County Police Chiefs Association held its annual Citizens Award Ceremony.

Citizens throughout the Valley were honored for their selfless acts of bravery.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office recognized those three for their quick thinking that saved the life of young Aiden.

They say while they received a plaque, their real award is seeing Aiden get to be a normal kid.

"If we didn't show up to the river late and hear those cries for help and stop, it would have been a completely different situation," says Cooper Short.

"Being able to see this life kind of develop and being able to do all these things is just really emotional for me," says Breanna Parolini.

Aiden and his family also came to show their gratitude.

"It makes me feel happy and enjoyable about what happened that day because of how they saved my life, and I'm really thankful," he said.

One of the paramedics who continued CPR on Aiden began advanced life support measures and got Aiden stabilized that day attributes it all to fate.

"It must have been meant to be," says Zack Spierling. "I can't think of any other way that all of this would have lined up to the event and the positive outcome. It was pure providence."
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