Lifeguards honored for saving drowning boy’s life at DC-area pool

Three lifeguards were honored on Wednesday for their heroic actions which saved a 7-year-old boy’s life in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

On June 25, the lifeguards were on duty at the Hamilton Splash Park in Hyattsville when they first noticed the boy in the water.

“I saw him, he was just like flat down on the water,” lifeguard Caleb Guzman said.

Guzman called for help from others on duty and jumped in the water to rescue the boy.

“When I touched him, his skin was cold,” Guzman said.

Lifeguard Jordan Everhardt recalled the boy’s “body was limp and he wasn’t really conscious.”

The pair, along with lifeguard Jalen DaSilva, all took part in administering CPR to the boy until first-responders arrived. Mohamed Ane and Aidan Ritter, both acting sergeants for the Hyattsville Fire Department, were the first on the scene.

“We started rescue breathing … got to the back of the ambulance and at that point paramedics got on scene and we were able to get a pulse,” said Ane.

The boy was then transported to a hospital.

The lifeguards, along with two others who worked that day, were honored with certificates and Prince George’s County Fire and EMS challenge coins.

For the lifeguards, while they said they thank their training for their being able to rise to the occasion, Guzman and DaSilva describe the events as “traumatizing.”

Sgt. Ritter said everyone that day played an important role: “A combination of all the groups together, especially from the start with the lifeguards coming in. I think that did wonders for the way the situation played out.”

Group of people in front of first-responder support vehicle.
Rescuers honored on Aug. 30 for their heroic actions which saved a 7-year-old boy’s life in Hyattsville, Maryland, on June 25. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Chief Tiffany Green agreed, adding “the prompt action of those first responders is what saved that life.”

The department is still trying to contact the boy’s family to see if a reunion with the lifeguards who saved him would be possible. DaSilva said he hopes that can happen one day.

“When I heard there was an award, I honestly didn’t really care at first because I told my boss I wanted to see the kid, that would be my like my award … seeing him move and walk,” DaSilva said.

The lifeguards hope parents who read this story, take advantage of swim lessons offered by the county for children.

“Swimming should be like a mandatory thing for all kids, I think … because there’s more water than land all over the world,” DaSilva said.

Everhardt also reminds parents to not lose sight of their children at the pool just because there is a lifeguard on duty.

“I think it’s really important for parents to educate their kids before coming to the pool, and even after they come to the pool to keep an eye on their kids,” Everhardt said.

Sgt. Ane said he believes that in addition to swim lessons, parents and others should also take advantage of CPR training in the county.

“Prehospital care is very important, and I think prehospital care in this case is what ended up saving the kid,” said Ane.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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