Teen helps perform CPR on boy who nearly drowned at Blue Hole

19-year-old lifeguard Heather Norman spoke to KXAN's Kylie McGivern on July 4, 2017, about how she saved a young boy's life at Blue Hole in Georgetown. (KXAN Photo/Andrew Choat)
19-year-old lifeguard Heather Norman spoke to KXAN's Kylie McGivern on July 4, 2017, about how she saved a young boy's life at Blue Hole in Georgetown. (KXAN Photo/Andrew Choat)

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Amid several reports of tragedies on area waterways, KXAN heard one inspiring story of a successful rescue. It came from a 19-year-old off-duty lifeguard who helped save a young boy’s life at Blue Hole in Georgetown on Sunday.

“There’s hundreds of people around and yet nobody really knew what to do,” Heather Norman said, wondering out loud what would have happened if she were the one who needed help. Instead, she was the one with CPR training.

Norman said there seems to be this notion that if tons of people are around, surely someone knows how to do CPR. But she didn’t find that to be the case.

“In reality, if everybody has that opinion, nobody’s going to ever get it,” she said of CPR training. “And then you have everybody standing around like that day. And they’re screaming and they’re staring and just chaos and nothing – no one knew exactly what to do.”

Norman cut through that chaos, helping two men she says tried to start CPR on the 9-year-old-boy pulled from Blue Hole. She says she quickly noticed the ratio of chest compressions to breaths was off.

“I felt like I knew that I could help,” she said, pushing through a crowd where some people were trying to hold her back. ” I said, ‘I’m certified, I’m certified, I’m certified!'”

Norman said the boy’s head was tilted down. He wasn’t breathing.

“When the head is not tilted back, you can’t open up this airway. You got to have everything open, that way you can get the air in and the water out,” Norman said, explaining she screamed, “Tilt his head back!” as she pushed forward to help.

“I don’t raise my voice. And I was like, I don’t know where this voice came from,” Norman said. “It was like I was being helped.”

Then, she said with each compression, an incredible amount of water began pouring out of the boy’s mouth.

“You’re looking at this little child’s face, this innocent little boy who’s just trying to have fun and you just see that discoloration,” Norman said. “And in that moment the only thing I could think about was, what we do now determines what happens.”

On Monday, Norman learned the boy is okay.

“Oh my gosh, my heart just, I felt so much better. Like this kid is okay,” she said. “I definitely feel like someone was definitely watching out for that little boy.”

Norman says she feels a higher power helped put her in the right place at the right time, with the right CPR training she hopes everyone is inspired to get themselves. When KXAN met with Norman, who is going on her 4th year as a lifeguard, she had just finished another CPR training course on Tuesday. To sign up for CPR courses, click here. 

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