Lifeguard commended for quick actions that saved little girl - KCTV5

UPDATE

Lifeguard commended for quick actions that saved little girl

Posted: Updated:
GARDNER, KS (KCTV) -

Thanks to the quick actions of a lifeguard at the Gardner Aquatic Center, a 3-year-old's life was saved when she nearly drowned Wednesday afternoon.

The incident happened about 3:20 p.m. at the Gardner Aquatic Center located at North Center and East Washington streets.

Police say officers were called to the swimming pool and told by a lifeguard that they found the 3-year-old girl unresponsive and face down in the northernmost area of the pool.

Thankfully the ending was positive after the lifeguard acted quickly. He jumped in, rescuing the toddler, and began performing CPR.

"All of our lifeguards here at the aquatic center are Red Cross-certified lifeguards and it's a requirement before they're put on any stand or within the facility, so they do go through a lot of hours of training through that program prior to being put on board here," said Jeff Stewart, Gardner's parks and recreation director.

"Awesome lifeguard, awesome. He was fast, doing his job," said Jeff Wilbur, who saw the entire thing.

Wilbur was at the aquatic center and said, when the lifeguard got the little girl breathing, the entire complex went crazy.

"They were clapping, cheering, saying ‘great job.' I found him after they were done and shook his hand," he said.

A lot of people in Gardner wanted to shake the 17-year-old lifeguard's hand when they heard about what he did, but the lifesaver didn't want to be recognized for it. He released his comment through the Gardner Parks and Recreation Department.

"The lifeguard, very mature response. He said really the focus needs to be on the fact that the child that had to be rescued yesterday seems to be doing just fine and we're all very grateful for that," Stewart said.

A person only has to be 15-years-old to be a certified lifeguard in Kansas and the responsibility they take on can be overwhelming. But, when they respond like the lifeguard did on Wednesday, it saves lives.

"A very mature response and we're very proud of that employee as well as we are all of our lifeguards," Stewart said.

Wilbur said his fear has always been about the dangers of his kids playing in the water but, after seeing the lifesaving actions, he understands firsthand why lifeguards are there.

"Just seeing something like that in real life, you hear about it all the time, but wow," he said.

The 3-year-old girl was taken to the hospital in serious condition. Her condition was upgraded to stable later that evening. She stayed in the hospital overnight for evaluation.

"The lifeguard is to be commended for their quick actions and stupendous observations with regards to this incident," police wrote in their news release.

Gardner police said they finished their investigation and found that the near-drowning was an accident and no neglect or abuse was involved.

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