SANDRA M STANWAY
The actions of two lifeguards and two civilians who saved the life of a drowning woman in the pool at the EID Aquatic Centre in January have been honoured by the city.
Public swimmer Bev Watson had been sharing a pool swim lap lane while doing laps with a woman in her 40s.
At about 3 p.m. on Jan. 14 Watson turned and kicked to begin another length when she noticed the woman was no longer in her sight and then saw her at the bottom of the pool.
Before diving underwater Watson screamed for a lifeguard who was also responding to the situation.
Abby Hauck, a junior lifeguard, jumped into the pool to rescue the unresponsive woman.
She was pulled out of the water by Tianna Bloor, an aquatic supervisor and bystander Terry Richardson who started CPR.
Russ Tanner, manager of recreation facilities, said CPR continued for about five minutes before she began to breathe on her own.
She was transported by ambulance to Brooks Health Centre and medivaced to a Calgary hospital where she made a full recovery.
She is being treated for a medical condition that likely contributed to the incident that day.
Shortly after the incident, the city thanked the bystanders who assisted the staff in the emergency response and the EMS members who attended and assumed care of the patron.
On Monday mayor Barry Morishita honoured Richardson, Watson, Hauck and Bloor for their quick response.
Hauck and Bloor received a letter from the Royal Lifesaving Society of Canada recognizing their actions. The lifeguards cannot be nominated for a national rescue award because they performed the action while on duty.
On behalf of the society Morishita presented a Commendation Citation to Richardson and Watson.
The couple has been nominated for a national Rescue Commendation Certificate which is for individuals who are not a society award holder.
“I’m very proud. I have told them it’s just a matter of time until there is a situation at the pool,” said Tanner.
Over the years the lifeguards have jumped into the pool to pull out drowning, responsive non-swimmers and have dealt with precautions or preventative measures but the near drowning in January was the most significant incident since the pool opened in 2005.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that a life was saved that day by the training our staff and a bystander had,” he said.