Man nearly drowns, airlifted from Hamilton Pool

Hamilton Pool on Nov. 17, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Jacqulyn Powell)
Hamilton Pool on Nov. 17, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Jacqulyn Powell)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — First responders say a man nearly drowned at Hamilton Pool Preserve Friday morning.

Austin-Travis County EMS says the call came in around 10:50 a.m. saying bystanders began performing CPR on the swimmer after he was pulled out of the water. Park employees say a bystander used the park’s life ring to pull him out, then two other people performed CPR.

First responders say the man was breathing and conscious by the time they arrived. They were able to carry him up the trail to the parking lot, where a STAR Flight crew was waiting to take him to a nearby hospital.

“We saw just a bunch of emergency vehicles coming out,” said Grace Kwon, as she and her friend, Loriel Letizia were arriving. The women said they were warned by a park employee to be careful.

“The park ranger was kind of asking, ‘Are you going to come swim? If you are going to come swim, just be cautious. There’s no lifeguard on duty. We just had this incident with a man who kind of got caught in the middle and couldn’t quite get out,'” Letizia said.

Kwon added, “He just mentioned it might have been too deep for his skill level.”

Hamilton Pool reopened to swimmers in May after being closed for six months after two people drowned at the swimming hole in 2016. Travis County Parks spent time reviewing their operational protocols to minimize incidents.

The pool does not have any on-duty lifeguards, but park employees are often present. An employee was standing nearby when Friday’s incident took place and was able to radio 911 for help.

The department has installed a loaner life jacket kiosk at the entrance to the pool where visitors can borrow life jackets, in a variety of sizes, to use at no charge. Throw rings have also been placed around the pool to help a distressed swimmer if the need arises.

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