TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A group of swimmers at Hamilton Pool Friday morning are being praised for their efforts in helping a teenager who went under water and didn’t resurface.
The 911 call came in just before 10:30 a.m. Austin-Travis County EMS says the boy was swimming when park employees said he went down and didn’t come up. Other swimmers at the pool were able to find the teenager and worked together to pull him out.
“They knew what they had to do and I really appreciate them doing it,” said ATCEMS District Commander Bryan Fitzpatrick.
It took 25 minutes before the swimmers were able to pull the teen out of the water. A second group of bystanders then stepped in and worked to revive him.
“There was a doctor and an emergency room nurse that happened to be bystanders there on the shoreline and they did CPR on him until the first responders arrived,” said Fitzpatrick.
Amazingly, crews were able to get a pulse even after what they call the “window of recovery” passed. “We generally give people the benefit of the doubt. A 17-year-old boy has the best chance of anyone of being resuscitated. We have a window of about 20 minutes from the time the first responders arrive on scene to the time that we actually give up hope of recovering a patient. It’s called our rescue window versus our recovery window,” said Fitzpatrick.
Between the time spent underwater, and the time swimmers worked to revive him, first responders believe the teen went at least 34 minutes without a pulse. But, emergency crews say this teenager overcame the odds thanks to those who stepped in to help.
“Bystander CPR is what saves people’s lives. Even if you call 911, we may have a three or four or five minute window until the first apparatus that is CPR qualified can arrive on scene,” said Fitzpatrick.
The patient was taken to the hospital by STAR Flight helicopter and is currently in critical condition.
As the summer weather continues and more people look to cool down in local swimming holes, first responders remind swimmers to know your limits.
“Know you’re ability and others of how they can swim. And, your own ability if you aren’t a very good swimmer, let someone know and don’t try to overstep your boundaries and go into water that is too deep,” said ATCEMS Battalion Chief Jeremy Petersma.