Masterton’s public pool complex. PHOTO/FILE

JAKE BELESKI

jake.beleski@age.co.nz

The father of a two-year-old boy who was revived after being pulled from the water at the Masterton public pool says the work of some quick-thinking strangers kept his son alive.

The boy was unconscious and had no pulse when he was pulled from the lazy river at the recreation centre on Saturday, and was quickly given emergency first aid.

He was then taken to Wairarapa Hospital by ambulance.

The boy’s father, who asked not to be named, said it had been a traumatic time for the family, but they were getting through it.

“It’s been tough as a family, to be in any kind of situation like this.

“We’re very thankful that our son is still here and alive with us today . . . that’s what matters most to us.”

He paid special tribute to the people who were on-hand to assist his son when he needed it most, and said they would be forever grateful to those people.

“There were some bystanders there who were very quick to assist me immediately.

“There were some great people who were around at the time who came and helped, and were all assisting to help my son through the ordeal.

“One lifeguard in particular pretty much saved my son’s life – he’s the reason my son is still breathing today.”

The family returned to the recreation centre yesterday to thank the lifeguard and present him with a gift, and that experience had been heart-warming for all involved, he said.

His son was still being monitored and he said the recovery process could take a long time.

The boy had endured a “rough night” on Sunday night, and the family was planning to take him back to the hospital for a check-up.

He wanted people to know the lifeguard at the pool and bystanders had been very helpful, and had all had a hand in doing something to help keep his son alive.

“As parents we love our children and care for them the best way possible in these kinds of situations.

“Whether it be ringing the ambulance or CPR, they all helped my son and comforted the people who were around.”

A woman who was at the pool at the time of the incident said she would never forget what she had seen.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said her son had asked her “what’s wrong with that lady?”.

She had looked over to see a distressed woman wandering around, and when she asked what was wrong the woman replied, “I can’t find my baby”.

The bystander, who is a nurse, said she asked what the woman’s son was wearing, and then started looking for him.

She was horrified to find him under the water in the river section of the pool.

“This baby was blue around the mouth and I just dived into the pool and just handed him to his dad — I think it was his dad — and the dad took him to the lifeguard.

“I jumped up out of the pool . . . and the lifeguard had started doing compressions.

“[The boy] was unresponsive.

“I started doing the breathing and then after a while he vomited.”

The nurse said she yelled to another man to call an ambulance.

“The mum was screaming next to me.

“The boy started coming around, his eyes started opening, and then I picked him up and gave him to the mum.”

She said she will never forget the image of the distraught mother, or of the boy “under the water and all blue”.

The lifeguard had done “a great job of the compressions”, and the pair had worked well as a team to revive the boy.

Another nurse who happened to be there was reassuring the parents while the pair performed CPR.

The woman said that by chance she had completed her refresher CPR training course just three days before the incident on Saturday.

She was thrilled that the boy was saved, saying that it felt like a miracle.

Any review of policies at the pool complex should be thorough, she said, as the incident needed to serve as a means to learn how such a similar situation could be avoided.

“For one, it’s a bit silly to have the baby pool right next to the river,” she said.

Belgravia Leisure, who run the recreation centre, have promised a review of the incident, with a senior staff member due to arrive in Masterton today or tomorrow to conduct it.