Thursday, March 2, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Near Drowning, Incredible Rescue

A four-year-old is lucky to be alive after he nearly drowned at a resort pool on Hamilton Island late last month.

If it were not for the quick-thinking holidaymakers that were first to arrive at the scene, and spent three crucial minutes resuscitating him, then he may have died.

Jason Chivers and his wife, Dr Britt Christensen, who are from Melbourne were holidaying with a group of other families and their own three children when they heard screams.

They turned around to see a mother carrying her child from the pool, he was blue and not breathing.

The mother turned the boy over and tried to smack his back, but Britt, who was 31 weeks pregnant at the time, jumped into action.

They managed to calm the mother down and lay the boy on his back, ensured his airway was clear and then began CPR.

“At first it was not working as there were too many people, but we managed to get everyone out of the way and get the sequence right,” recalls Jason.

“Seeing the child’s chest go up and down – I still see it so clearly today – we have a nearly four-year-old and it was just so much to take in.”

There was a large crowd of families watching, but after about three minutes Jason said he saw a flicker.

“His eyes moved, and we continued CPR and then I saw emotion come on his face, in twitches,” said Jason.

“All of a sudden, we heard a big scream come from the child and I was just waiting to hear his voice so that we knew he had brain function and that’s when he screamed – Mum! Mum! Mum! – and he did a massive vomit of water and then a huge burp.”

A few minutes later the fire brigade arrived and so did the ambulance service.

When Britt got to her feet, she had severe burns on her knees and the family will always remember the traumatic day.

Jason managed to speak to the boy’s mother afterwards and she explained that her son had been wearing his floaty and that she had gone to a sun lounger to get his goggles so they could practice swimming in the deep end.

Somehow, in those few minutes, he had gotten out of his floaty and into the deep end of the pool.

The pool was very crowded at the time and the mother could not see her son at first, but after a frantic few minutes, she found him submerged.

“It’s amazing how quickly they can slip under the water without a noise, in a crowded pool and for nobody to notice,” said Jason.

Fortunately, there is a happy outcome to this incident but it acts as a stark reminder that children need constant visual supervision in the water.

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