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Men Credited With Saving Boy, 3, From Drowning : Accident: Pair spotted the child at bottom of apartment complex pool. He was pulled to safety and revived.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Fire officials credited two Riverside County men with saving a 3-year-old boy from drowning Wednesday in an apartment complex pool.

The boy’s relatives apparently lost sight of him for a moment in the pool, according to John Sahm, a Santa Ana Fire Department spokesman.

Carlos Bermudez, 18, of Perris, and his uncle, Saul Bermudez, 27, of Corona, were visiting family at the complex in the 2600 block of North Grand Avenue when Carlos Bermudez spotted the child at the bottom of the deep end of the pool.

He dived in and grabbed the child, whom fire officials have not identified, Sahm said.

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The boy “was flat on the bottom, but he was still moving a little bit,” said Joe Bermudez, Carlos’ uncle, who witnessed the rescue.

“The kid was very close to death,” and having convulsions, Joe Bermudez said. “His eyes had rolled back, he was purple, blue.”

After Carlos, a Perris high school student, pulled the boy from the pool, Saul Bermudez got out of the shallow end of the pool, where he was wading with his own 3-year-old daughter.

“I ran out to the other side of the pool, and saw nobody was doing anything,” said Saul Bermudez, a produce manager for Stater Bros. market in Santa Ana.

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“I saw the child wasn’t being taken care of,” he said, “so I started CPR. It was scary. The child just wasn’t breathing. . . . I guess he was in shock. He was unconscious at first. He was purple when I got to him, and he had already rolled his eyes back. He wasn’t moving at all when I got there.”

Bermudez began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, “but he didn’t breath. After a few more tries, he started to come back.”

Bermudez said he learned CPR in a church group when he was 13 or 14 years old, and had not used it since. “It just comes naturally when it’s necessary, then it started to come back.”

Several minutes later, fire officials said, the boy began to vomit.

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“Eventually he started to cough, and then he finally cried,” Joe Bermudez said. “We all got really scared there for a moment. He looked really bad, but it was a good outcome.”

“I was relived,” Saul Bermudez said. “It was the Lord’s miracle.”

When firefighters and paramedics arrived at the pool the boy was “alert and crying,” Sahm said. Firefighters took him to St. Joseph Hospital in Orange for observation.


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