‘The city of Worcester has lost a hero’: Officer dies trying to save drowning teen

WORCESTER, Mass. (WPRI/WWLP) — A officer who jumped into a Massachusetts pond Friday afternoon died trying to save a drowning teenager, Worcester Police Chief Steven Sargent said.

At 1:35 p.m. Friday, police received a 911 call and multiple reports of drowning in the pond at Green Hill Park in Worcester. Police officers and firefighters responded, and Sargent said they saw three teenagers in the water, struggling to stay afloat. One, in the middle of the pond, was reaching only his arm above the water.

In total, Sargent said five officers jumped into the water, including 38-year-old Emmanuel Familia. The officers were able to rescue two of the swimmers, but quickly realized both Familia and the third teen, identified by Sargent only as a 14-year-old boy, were missing, having not resurfaced.

Worcester Police Department Enmanuel Familia
The Worcester Police Department identified the officer as 38-year-old Enmanuel Familia. (Worcester Police Department)

Sargent said divers were called to the scene to search for Familia and the boy. At 2:28 p.m., Sargent said divers found both him unresponsive and tried life-saving measures before rushing him to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Divers also recovered the body of the 14-year-old boy shortly after. He was also pronounced dead at the hospital.

Familia was a five-year veteran of the force and leaves behind a wife and two children, according to Sargent. Officer Familia is survived by his parents, wife, and two children.

“The Worcester Police Department has lost a brother, a friend and a partner, and the city of Worcester has lost a hero,” Sargent said. “We will remember and honor his selfless devotion to Worcester and his ultimate sacrifice to save someone he didn’t know.”

The identity of the teenage boy who also drowned has not been released.

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