Off-duty EMT saves toddler from drowning at pool in Hanahan

Off-duty EMT saves toddler from drowning at pool in Hanahan

HANAHAN, S.C. (WCSC) - An off-duty EMT is being called a hero after saving a toddler from drowning at a pool in Hanahan.

It happened at the Ibis Glade Amenity Center on Monday.

EMT and Engineer for the City of Goose Creek Fire Department John Lee was able to get the child breathing on her own again just moments after he started to perform CPR. The child is doing well now.

Lee was at the pool with his wife.

“My wife was getting out of the pool and she said we’re leaving,” Lee said. “The kids were getting out of school at that time and it was getting ready to be overrun with kids and we just wanted to get away.”

Shortly after, Lee's instincts kicked in when he saw an unresponsive child.

“I heard a screech over in the area we’re standing behind and I seen a woman pick up a child who was limp. I just ran over and helped.” Lee said.

Lee says the child was under the water for about 58 seconds. In surveillance video, you can see him running into action.

We're not able to show the entire video , but the child was holding the handrail while on the pool step and then she went to where she could no longer stand.

Lee says about 20 seconds after performing back blows on the child which are often used for small children, the toddler vomited, started breathing and shortly after was standing on her own.

"It's just part of my job, just trying to do what I can to help the community," Lee said.

Many are calling it divine intervention.

Volunteer at the pool, Bill Healy, says the child might have not survived if it wasn’t for Lee, and that he’s a hero.

Healy watched the surveillance video of the incident.

"To see the child go under, you just want to have tears in your eyes. You just want to grab it, " Healy said. “John jumped into action. He was there lickity split. He ran across the pool to be there for him and he responded the way professional first responders respond.”

Ibis Glade Amenity Center has a rule that says any child that cannot swim cannot be more than an arm's distance away from the guardian.

"God put John at the right place at the right time," Healy said.

This isn't the first time John saved someone from drowning. He said he also rescued his cousin in the ocean in Alaska. He said he pulled him out of the water and did the same thing.

“Don’t ever let your guard down with your kids. Keep them close and keep a watchful eye on them,” Lee said.

Lee says he doesn’t recommend letting children use the arm floats. Instead, people should purchase Coast Guard certified life jackets.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.