HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Swimming pools offer relief in the sweltering heat but can also be dangerous. An 8-year-old boy had a close call when he nearly drowned at an apartment complex pool off North Laburnum Avenue, in eastern Henrico.
Witnesses said they thought the boy was playing. But he almost didn't make it out alive. With more children taking in the summertime activity, one lifeguard said it's crucial parents pay extra attention.
It's a sound children at south Richmond's Granite pool can't wait for. The lifeguard whistle, signaling open swim!
On this busy Memorial Day, Tommy Saunders, is one of three on duty watching over the hundreds of bobbing heads. Saunders said parents should always do the same.
"When they're younger than a certain age or haven't been taught how to swim, it doesn't hurt to be within arms reach in a pool," said Saunders.
In eastern Henrico, a similar scene, but one big difference. No lifeguard. At Seven Gables Apartments, parents banded together to save a young life.
Witnesses said an 8-year-old boy was floating face down for several minutes.
"I seen him under the water and nobody was grabbing him and next thing I know I jumped in," said Cary Franklin.
Franklin said a man helped her hoist the boy out of the water.
"They pulled him out he wasn't breathing," said witness Michelle Ceaser.
Several people started CPR, until emergency crews took over.
"It just scared me half to death. It scared all of us. Made me almost cry," said Franklin.
"We honestly thought the kid was just swimming, that's it," said Ceaser.
Henrico fire said the little boy had a pulse when emergency crews brought him to VCU Medical Center. Ceaser said it scared her to the point of thinking twice about returning with her 2-year-old.
"They really need to get a life guard out here," said Ceaser.
"I think all pools should have one, but parents should be responsible for their children. They should watch them," said Franklin.
Saunders said it's also a good idea to be trained in CPR.
"It certainly wouldn't hurt if everybody knew CPR. It would be a lot safer," said Saunders.
No word on the boy's condition. Witnesses said he wasn't alone at the pool, that his grandparents were nearby.