Off-duty officer rescues motorcyclist after plunging into canal


FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — An off-duty Fresno police officer saved the life of a motorcyclist who plunged into a canal Thursday night.

Police say the officer, Thao Xiong, is a 23-year-veteran of the department who happened to see the driver fly into the canal and sprung into action — knowing how swift the waters are, then getting him to safety.

This all happened around 7:30 p.m. when several people started calling 911 for the man in the canal.

Xiong happened to have a rope with him, grabbed it and ran down to an area he could throw the rope to the man.

Lt. Cervantes says this was a challenge because the rider injured his arm in the crash and was in and out of consciousness.

The officer was able to get him over to the side of the canal– that’s when responding officers arrived and formed a human chain to get him out.

Cervantes says there is no doubt in his mind, Xiong saved the mans life.

“This is a testament to the fact that there really is no going off-duty quote unquote you know officers are here to serve the community and their capacity as an officer when they’re on duty, but likewise is the case when they’re off duty,” said Lt. Cervantes.

The rider, described as a Hispanic man in his late 20s is not suspected of DUI and officers say at this point they don’t know why he veered into the canal.

The man was taken to Community Regional Medical Center and is expected to be okay.

As for Xiong, Cervantes says the department will be looking into providing him with an accolade.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

July 23 2021 05:30 pm

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383