Thursday, February 22, 2018
Public safety

Hillsborough deputy jumps into pond to save autistic child

APOLLO BEACH — A Hillsborough sheriff's deputy searching for a missing child jumped into a pond to rescue the 9-year-old on Tuesday.

The incident took place at about 4:31 p.m., according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said 9-year-old Zachary Durante, who is autistic, was reported missing from his home near the 300 block of Apollo Beach Boulevard. He had apparently left his house through an unlocked door. Deputies started searching the neighborhood.

Deputy Efrain Taveras, 52, was helping search for the child when he spotted the boy in a retention pond. Durante cannot swim.

So the deputy, in full gear, jumped into the pond to rescue the child.

The boy was returned to his family.

Taveras is a 12-year veteran of the agency.

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