FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - First responders hailed the actions of a quick-thinking 10-year-old boy who came to the rescue of a family friend in distress at the bottom of a hotel swimming pool while visiting South Florida.
Speaking via Zoom with 7News on Sunday, Waiden Guerrier said he was on vacation from New York at the time of Friday’s incident.
Waiden said he spotted the family friend struggling in the swimming pool at the Royal Beach Palace Hotel, near Northeast 38th Street and North Ocean Boulevard.
“Then she got to the deep end, and then she started to sink underwater, and then she passed out,” he said.
Waiden said instinct took over, as he jumped in the water.
“I saw her splashing, and I was coming to bring her up, and she was like keeping dragging me down, so I knew that she was drowning,” he said.
Waiden’s family said the 38-year-old woman had a medical episode and lost consciousness.
“I just saw her stop moving, and I started to freak out,” said Waiden.
According to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, Waiden grabbed the woman and dragged her to the shallow part of the pool and kept her head above water.
“I took her to the 3-feet area in the pool, and then I called for people to come and help,” said Waiden.
Officials said a bystander helped pull the woman out of the pool completely.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue units arrived to the scene to find the Guerriers’ friend alert and conscious but unsure of the events that led up to the incident. She refused transport.
Carine Guerrier, the boy’s mother, said his swimming lessons a couple of years before really paid off.
“Since that time, like ’18, ’19, they’ve been going to swim practice, and he swims like a fish now. He’s like a pro,” she said. “For him to take her from the deep end, and he was holding her [so her head stayed above water] and swimming back, oh, my God. I couldn’t do that, so I’m very proud. He did a good thing.”
FLFR officials said they are nominating Waiden for an award in recognition of his heroism.
“I did nominate him for basically a ‘field safe’ from a near drowning,” said FLFR Capt. Seamus Murphy, “which is rare in itself, but also more rare because it was a child that did it.”
The nomination form states, “If not for the actions of this quick-thinking young man, the outcome of this incident would’ve undoubtedly ended horribly. Waiden Guerrier deserves recognition for saving this woman’s life.”
“Outstanding young man, and we’re all very, very proud of him,” said Murphy.
Carine works for the New York City Fire Department. She said she plans to send some shirts over to FLFR as a thank you for honoring her son.
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