May 5, 2013 1:24 AM by Erika Flores

Teen saves 4-year-old from drowning

TUCSON-A near drowning happened just before 6 o'clock Saturday at an apartment complex pool near Pima and Wilmot.

The boy was found face down floating in the water.

The four-year-old is alive thanks to the quick thinking of a teen training to be an EMT.
"It was in the middle right here," said Robert Valenzuela.

The 19-year-old saw the boy floating face down.

"His head wouldn't come out of the water. That's when I started asking people around if he knew how to swim," said Valenzuela.

And in a matter of seconds, "I just jumped in there and put him over my shoulder and dragged him out to the ladder and took him out of there," he said.

When he was out, Valenzuela noticed his eyes were rolling back and his lips were purple.

Family friend Mariah Tabb said the family had been swimming for three hours before this happened.

"He had his floaties on the whole time while we were swimming. His mom had just told them to go back to the house while we were packing up and I guess he just came back," said Tabb.

Tucson Fire estimates the boy was under water for about a minute.

"Is he going to be okay? And I ask them all these questions and I get even more scared," said nine-year-old Brandi Haines who saw the near drowning.

The boy was unresponsive.

"So I started like pressing on the little boy's chest and that's when he started crying, and then I was like okay he might be okay," said Tabb.

Nine-year-old Haines said this experience has taught her a valuable lesson.

"We were jumping in with no floaties and afterward, I think ‘oh my goodness, what if I were to drown when I was jumping in,'" said Haines.

Valenzuela said this experience has made him realize he wants to pursue a fire fighter career.

As for the boy, his condition did improve over time.

He's expected to be okay.


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