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Harrison Moynagh, left, and Miles Ties, both 8 years old, spotted a young boy struggling to swim in the South Fork of the Zumbro River in Rochester on Sunday, May 26. Authorities were able to rescue the boy from the water over the weekend. Joe Ahlquist / Forum News Service

Boys hailed as heroes in Rochester after spotting child in river

ROCHESTER, Minn. — A sunny afternoon at the park took a serious turn for two 8-year-old Rochester boys, when they spotted a child being swept away in the Zumbro River.

Miles Ties and Harrison Moynagh were playing near some trees on Sunday afternoon, May 26, in the Soldiers Field area. It was about 2:45 p.m., and the park was filled with people. Miles' dad, Bob, played with a younger sibling nearby.

They were interrupted when an older man hurried up to them and asked if they had seen a 4-year-old boy, because his grandson with autism was missing.

That put the pair on alert.

Minutes later, they spotted a young boy in an orange jacket in the water, just south of the bridge at Broadway.

“He was bobbing up and down… He was sort of swimming but he was struggling,” remembered Ties.

They immediately ran to the worried man, who was still nearby, and told him. A rescue team was soon on the scene.

Miles said they last saw the boy in the orange jacket float under the Broadway bridge.

Firefighters waded into the water and pulled the child from the river. The rescue happened across from Rochester Fire Station No. 1 — about a quarter mile from where the child went into the water.

The child was conscious and alert when rescuers got to him. He was taken from the scene to Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys by Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service for evaluation.

Meanwhile, Miles and Harrison sat in the grass by the playground, watching.

“I was kind of nervous,” Harrison said. “When we saw the police and fire department, we thought he’d probably be safe.”

The pair realized the boy had floated by them, unseen, while they were playing. They say if the child’s grandfather hadn’t spoke to them, they probably would never have spotted him.

Bob Ties quickly gathered up the boys, praised them for their actions and took them away from the scene, not knowing how the rescue would turn out.

“I told them, ‘Let’s think positive thoughts. You guys did your part,’” Bob Ties said.

Soon they got word that the child was OK.

“That was a big relief,” Moynagh said.

The pair stressed that they knew telling an adult was the right reaction rather than trying to rescue the child themselves.

“We probably would have been in the same situation he was and have made things worse,” Miles Ties said.