On Wednesday night, the boy was not breathing on his own. Police were able to get a pulse after performing CPR, but they don't know how long he was in the water. It could have been 10 or 15 minutes - it happened quickly. They have hotel surveillance video of the kids with their mother and nanny together at 1:09 p.m. and he was reported missing about 8 minutes later. He was found in the water about 1:29 p.m.
Police say the family was taking pictures in the lobby of San Francisco's Hyatt Hotel when the mother realized her 18-month-old son had disappeared.
"The woman immediately started screaming and all the employees were excellent and just every employee was looking for him and one of the employees was looking under a Christmas tree and the clothing caught his eye," said San Francisco Police Lt. Nicole Greely.
The boy was floating in the hotel's fountain which is near the Christmas tree. Police say the mother had been holding the boy's twin sister and the boy was on foot.
"They were right in the area, but there's trees, it's beautifully decorated, there's people and she has twins," said Greely.
The decorations are certainly a draw at the hotel. Fellda Chen brings her daughter Gabriella to see them every year. The 4-year-old likes the holiday display, but also likes to look at the fountain.
"I was about to ask her if she wanted to touch the water that's coming up from that fountain because she was like, 'Mommy, Mommy look, it's water!' I think kids are always drawn to water," said Chen.
Chen says she knows all too well how quickly a toddler can slip out of sight.
"Very, very quickly... very. And that's scary too. You can't always keep all eyes on her 24/7, although I'll try to be, but obviously that's not the reality," said Chen.
The news of the accident was tough on everyone from hotel patrons to the responding police officers.
"I want to cry. I'm a mom myself," said Kim Bratton from Clayton.
"Several of our officers did CPR on a baby and that's the worst thing of your entire life," said Greely.
The Hyatt Hotel says the fountain has been there since hotel opened in 1973 and they don't remember any accidents like this one ever happening before.
It has a shallow reflecting pool with just a few inches of water and that flows into a deeper trough of water about 2.5 feet deep.
A spokesman says the staff is deeply concerned about what has happened.