CHICAGO (CBS) – A college student from Hobart, Indiana, is being praised as a hero after he rescued a cat that fell through the ice into a frozen lake.

Darden Schurg, a junior at Wabash college, says he was home on break, eating breakfast and playing cards with his brothers on Christmas Eve when his dad saw a neighborhood cat fall through the ice into a frozen lake.

Schurg says his older brother first tried to rescue the cat but he couldn’t stand the icy water.

“I just knew what I had to do and from there, it just kind of was what it was,” Schurg said.

He says his family tried to come up with a game plan for a couple of minutes, but there just wasn’t enough time. Schurg dove into the icy water and raced across to save the struggling cat.

“He was fighting pretty good, and when he could see that I jumped into the water I think he kind of knew I was coming to help him, so he just kind of stopped struggling.”

“He was pretty bad,” Schurg said. “I think he was kind of a little bit frozen. He kind of came out of it a little bit of a shock. He went under the dock and hid for a little bit. He came out and kind of shook off and sat in the sun. the temperature was starting to come back up.”

But Schurg was cut by the ice he dove into and swam through.

Darden Schurg (Credit: Hilda Schurg)

“I didn’t realize how sharp the ice was until I had gotten out,” he said. “I was a little taken aback, myself. I looked down, and I was completely covered head to toe in blood.”

Schurg came inside and his fingers and toes were numb for hours, he said.

Schurg is now being called the Aquaman of his town by some.

“I love all the outpouring support, and I’m just so thankful that I was given this opportunity because it’s that quick moment in time and you have such a short time to respond,” he said. “I was just happy that I was in the right place at the right time and able to do the right thing.”

Schurg says he has since had to return to school, but his dad is keeping an eye out for the cat in the neighborhood.

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