Boy, 8, recovering after Gambrills pool rescue

An 8-year-old Gambrills boy was recovering at Johns Hopkins Children's Center Sunday after a near-death experience the day before — when he was pulled unconscious from the bottom of a neighborhood pool.

"I just received word that he's doing well and playing video games, talking and communicating," said Marian Newell, president of the Waugh Chapel Swim Club in Gambrills, where the boy nearly drowned.

The boy, who was not identified, was at a birthday party at the club about 12:40 p.m. Saturday when he jumped into the pool's 12-foot-deep dive well, Newell said.

A young lifeguard whom Newell identified only as "Mark" watched the boy jump in, then noticed him nearing the bottom of the pool, Newell said.

The lifeguard jumped into the pool to rescue the boy soon after, Newell said, and pulled the boy to the surface with the help of a father who was also attending the birthday party.

The boy was not breathing and did not have a heartbeat, Newell said.

As staff called 911, the lifeguard — with the help of a woman at the pool training to become an EMT — performed CPR on the boy, Newell said.

"He was incredible," Newell said of the lifeguard, "really quite a hero."

The boy was conscious by the time emergency responders placed him in a helicopter to be flown to Hopkins, Newell said.

A defibrillator given to the pool by the Connor Cares Foundation was brought out but wasn't used because the CPR was successful, Newell said.

The foundation, named for Connor John-James Freed, a 5-year-old who drowned in Crofton in 2006, has given defibrillators to a number of area pools. A bill requiring defibrillators at all public and semi-public pools in Anne Arundel County, known as "Connor's law," was signed into law by County Executive John R. Leopold this month.

Newell said there has been an outpouring of support in the community for the club and the family of the young boy, whom Newell declined to identify in part because he and his family are not club members.

"I'm very proud of our lifeguards, our staff, our community for all their support," Newell said.

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