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Boy, 3, saved in pool drama
A COUPLE have told of the terrifying moment their young son nearly drowned in a waterpark during a holiday abroad.
Traumatised Oliver and Vanessa Butler, of Haxby, York, say three-year-old Alfie survived only thanks to a British Coastguard who happened to be staying at their holiday complex in Gran Canaria and resuscitated the lifeless youngster.
“We are so grateful to the coastguard, Ged Butters,” said Oliver, 37. “Alfie wouldn’t be with us now if it wasn’t for him, and also for a Spanish medic who came over and assisted with Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).”
Vanessa said Alfie appeared to have fallen on to his front after wandering into the shallows of a waterpark complex at Tourito.
“It was the first time on the holiday when he wasn’t wearing his armbands,” she said. “We had taken them off when he went for a sleep on a sunbed and then when he woke up went down to the water’s edge without them.
“Something distracted me and then I looked round and couldn’t see him and was panicking,” she said. “Then I saw him lying on his front, with his face in the water.
It was only about a foot deep. I screamed and ran in to pick him up and bring him back to the sunbed. He was lifeless and blue. I was hysterical.
“I put him in the recovery position and then Ged, who is a Coastguard in Rhyll and was on holiday there with his family, came over and started performing CPR.
“Alfie coughed and seemed to revive but then we lost him again. They took him to a medical room where they carried on working on him until an ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.
“They brought him around, but lost him three times in total. At the hospital they had in intensive care and we had to wait for half an hour before we were told how he was.”
Oliver said: “It was the longest half hour of my life. I was praying and kept thinking: “Not Alfie, please – take me instead.’ Vanessa was crying.
“Eventually they said one of us could go in and see him, and Alfie put his arm round me and said: “Daddy, I want some water.” I just said: “Alfie, haven’t you had enough water today?!’ He was obviously dehydrated.”
The couple said Alfie had recovered well.
Doctors here had put him on a precautionary course of antibiotics because of the risk of infection after water had entered his lungs. “He has been having nightmares and is very clingy,” said Vanessa.
The couple claimed no lifeguards spotted Alfie or came to his aid when he was lying in the water, or assisted with CPR when Vanessa got him to the poolside.
A spokeswoman for Jet2holidays, with whom the Butlers travelled to the resort, said: “Water parks are very busy places and as such we recommend that children are supervised at all times by a parent or guardian and wear suitable floatation equipment to stop incidents like this occurring. We are aware of the incident and our thoughts are with the family, we are also reviewing the resorts procedure in light of this accident in conjunction with the hotel.”
•The Butlers say they wanted to warn other parents of the importance of always keeping their children’s armbands on, and of staying permanently vigilant when they are anywhere near water.
The couple also said they now intend taking first aid classes so they would never again feel so helpless if they saw someone drowning, and they urged others to consider doing the same.
They added that they had been advised to take Alfie to a swimming pool as soon as possible to get him used to going back in the water, and they wanted him and his brother Luke, eight, to learn to swim as soon as possible.
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