The man who died Monday while rescuing a woman who fell through ice at a Tooele County reservoir had graduated from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office academy as a new deputy just weeks ago, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Emaloni Takitoa Lutui, 20, “bravely sacrificed his life” to save the woman, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
The pair ended up in the frigid water of Settlement Canyon Reservoir sometime around 7 p.m. Monday after both fell through ice, Tooele City police said.
Lutui helped the woman out of the water before slipping under the ice himself, according to the news release. He didn’t resurface.
The woman was taken to a hospital and is expected to recover, authorities said. Rescue personnel found Lutui’s body hours later. Authorities did not say if the two knew each other.
HIs “last act was to push her out of the water,” the news release stated.
Lutui graduated from the sheriff’s office academy on Jan. 11. In a Facebook post about the graduation, the sheriff’s office shared, “Class #39, your journey has just begun.”
“We are heartbroken with the loss of Deputy Lutui,” Sheriff Rosie Rivera said in a statement Wednesday. “He displayed extraordinary courage and selflessness in the face of immediate danger.”
“His unwavering commitment to the well-being of others is a true testament of his character,” her statement continued. “He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.”