Janesville fisherman helps police rescue boy from Rock River

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JANESVILLE (WKOW) — The fisherman who helped police rescue a boy from the Rock River said he was just in the right place at the right time, able to help the eight-year-old make it to safety.

Ken Giffords said he often fishes for Walleye on the Rock River north of Janesville but Sunday afternoon, he decided to try a different spot.

“Normally, I’m 10 miles upriver,” he said.

Maybe five minutes after launching his boat in downtown Janesville, Giffords said he realized this wouldn’t be an ordinary fishing trip.

“Just after I came underneath the bridge on Racine St. cause I was headed this way, there was a police officer on top of the bridge and he hollered at me, ‘Hey there’s a kid in the water go over there and help him out.'” he said.

Janesville Police believe the eight-year-old boy fell into the water near the ARISE Town Square pier just after 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. By the time Gifford got there he said the boy was holding onto a rope about 100 yards downstream near Rivers Edge Bowl.

“He was holding onto the rope,” he said. “He wasn’t going anywhere but they couldn’t get him up because he was too tired to hold onto it.”

Gifford said the walls were too steep for the boy to climb out so he intervened.

“I just motored up to him and grabbed him out of the water and then grabbed him from there and lifted him up to the police,” he said.

According to the fire department, they arrived just as police pulled the boy from the water. Had Giffords not been there, the boy would have has to wait for the department to deploy their boat.

Police said the boy suffered minor injuries but they took him to the hospital as a precaution. Gifford said he hasn’t heard from the boy or his family since the incident but he’s thankful he was able to play his part in getting the eight-year-old to safety.

“Thankfully you’re okay cause this can be dangerous,” he said. “A little 7,8-year-old kid. I’m happy for the outcome cause it could have been much much worse.”

Gifford said he’s not looking for a thank you and doesn’t consider himself a hero.

“I think the police and fire department are,” he said. “I helped out but I’m not a hero.”

He believes any angler in the same position would have done the same.

Michelle Alfini

Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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