Lifeguard saves 15-year-old from drowning

July 21, 2011 5:14:56 PM PDT
A 15-year-old boy was stuck under water in the deep-end of an east Houston pool last week. That's when a lifeguard jumped into action, pulling the teenager from the water and helping save his life.

That boy has recovered and now we're learning more about the rescue from the lifeguard.

The boy ended up under water in a pool at Finnigan Park last week. When he was brought to the surface, he wasn't breathing.

For lifeguard Darrell Drake, 23, it was something he'd never seen before and hopes he'll never see again.

"Not on my watch. That's all that was on my mind. You are not dying on me," Drake said.

Drake will never look at the community pool the same way again without thinking about the day his routine lifeguard shift turned potentially tragic.

"He was lying right on top of the vent in a fetal position," Drake said.

With about 35 to 40 other people swimming around, he could clearly see the boy's body on the bottom of the 10-foot pool. Drake says there was no movement, no breathing and he quickly realized this was no joke and quickly sprung into action.

"I went down, scooped him in a cradle," said Drake.

Swimming back to shore he feared the worst.

"I checked his pulse. There was nothing there," he recalled.

So the nine-year lifeguard went to work for an agonizing few minutes, and then...

"We started to see his eyes coming back. He was blinking really, really slowly. He started coughing and the third time, his stomach starts inflating and he starts vomiting," Drake said.

An unusually welcomed sight then that now has so many feeling grateful.

"First of all, it allows me to sleep peacefully for the rest of my life," said Jeffield Jefferson with the Houston Recreation and Wellness Division. "I am so proud to say that our lifeguard staff is probably some of the best trained in the world."

Meanwhile, Drake has not come face-to-face with that 15-year-old, who has since been released from the hospital, but he says he has plans for when he does.

"A hug, probably a 'bro-hug," Drake said then chuckled.

We're told that 15-year-old is feeling much better. In fact, we're told he was spotted walking around Finnigan Park just a few days ago.

City lifeguards undergo rigorous training every year. Drake says he credits the two other lifeguards on duty that night with helping to save that teen's life.

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