By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Although paramedics from Poarch Creek Indians Fire Department and MedStar EMS eventually took over medical care of a young girl recently pulled from a hotel pool, it was members of the 11-year-old victim’s family who actually rescued her from the pool and got her breathing again.
The near tragedy happened Saturday, October 15, just before 4 p.m., at Atmore’s Hampton Inn.
“We were having a birthday dinner at the hotel, and the kids were in the weight room,” said Samantha Gates, one of the preteen’s aunts. “We were getting ready to leave, and we told the kids not to go outside. They did anyway, and some of them jumped back in the pool. They got to playing rough and (her niece) fell off a floatie.”
A 10-year-old relative reportedly ran inside and alerted the adults. Gates said she immediately ran out to the area but at first didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.
“(The child’s) grandmother told us to walk to the end of the pool, and that’s when my 14-year-old daughter saw my niece on the bottom of the pool,” she said. “I heard a scream and dove into the pool, just what I would have done for anybody. She was so heavy in the water that it was a struggle, but I would have died trying to save her life.”
Once the tween was pulled from the pool, two other family members began successful administration of basic first-aid procedures.
“Her great-uncle was doing chest compressions, and her cousin was giving her mouth-to-mouth,” said Gates, who added that none of the other family members wanted their names published. “They had her breathing when the paramedics, ambulance and helicopter got there.”
Atmore Fire Chief Ron Peebles said he doesn’t know who rescued the child.
“All we did was help load the patient in the helicopter,” Peebles said. “I don’t know who pulled her out. All I know is that she was breathing and crying when we put her on the helicopter.”
Samantha Gates advised that individuals, especially those who spend a lot of time near water, should learn CPR and preliminary life-saving techniques.
“If they don’t know how, they probably should,” she said.
MedStar flight medics took control of the young patient, flying her to an undisclosed area hospital, where she was examined, treated and released.
“She’s home, doing good,” said Gates. “By the grace of God, she had no broken bones. It is a blessing.”