Strangers save boy from drowning in Bluffton

Local News

BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – The dog days of summer can mean a lot of time at the pool, but those cool waters can be dangerous if you aren’t careful.

It’s something one little boy found out firsthand in the Lowcountry over Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday afternoon at the pool in Bluffton’s Mill Creek subdivision a call went out to 911. A child between 4 and 5 years old was found at the bottom of a lazy river.

Luckily, a nurse, a teacher, her daughter, and an off-duty firefighter all jumped to action.

“Who knows how long, another 30 seconds, another minute it would have been a different outcome,” said Randy McGarvey, a Bluffton firefighter.

He said CPR had been started but the compressions weren’t adequate.

“Being an EMT, I politely asked if I could jump in. They said, of course, they allowed that,” he added. With the help of a local ER nurse, McGarvey kept pumping until he got the sign he was waiting for.

“Once I did get a pulse back I checked for chest rise, I did hear air moving. We did have some water come out of the child,” he said. 

“Its a scary thing seeing anyone especially a child lifeless,” McGarvey added, “But to see life come back, the responsiveness in the eyes, crying, coughing — its the best sound you will hear in your whole life.”

The firefighter had time to save the boy’s life thanks to Emily and Andrea Alonso. 13-year-old Emily saw the boy, then she and her mother jumped in to pull him out.

“If it wasn’t for her quick action and her calling out for help, who knows where we would be,” said McGarvey. “We probably wouldn’t be here, its a different story.”

But this story now has a happy ending with a young boy alive and a set of new friends bonded forever by their actions.

“I’m not a hero. I did what anyone of us would have done,” said McGarvey. “There are plenty of citizens out there that would have done the same thing.”

He added that this should be a reminder for all parents to keep an eye on their children and utilize swimmies or flotation devices.

“It doesn’t take but just a second for something to happen,” McGarvey added. “Don’t assume something is not going to happen, assume the worst and play off of that.”

The little boy was from out of town and had to be taken to a Savannah hospital for treatment. News 3 has been told he will make a full recovery.

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