Two hailed as heroes after dad, girl nearly drown

July 29, 2011 12:50:31 AM PDT
A six-year-old girl and her father have two heroes to thank for being alive tonight.

Firefighters in San Jose told ABC7 that they usually respond to a report of a drowning or near-drowning about once a month in the city. When they responded to the scene of a pool at the Regency Park townhouses, rescuers had already stepped in and saved the lives of two people.

It was just starting to turn dark when neighbors near the pool heard a woman screaming.

Two guests of a resident -- a 44-year-old father and his six-year-old daughter -- were laying at the bottom of the pool.

High school social studies teacher Jeffrey Bale had to scale a seven-foot fence to get to them.

"I just scaled the fence, and the mother of the girl said she did not know CPR, so I took over, and within a minute or so she was coughing up, so we turned our attention to the man," Bale said. "It was kind of a scary moment."

Nobody is quite sure what happened. The girl's mother and several others were in a nearby hot tub, but they had their backs turned to the pool.

"The girl was on the shoulder," said resident Geetha Ganesh. "He was kind of giving a dolphin ride to the girl and when I talked to the guest who brought them in, she said he swims pretty well but he's not an excellent swimmer."

The father and daughter were treated and released at a nearby hospital and were discharged on Thursday. Both are now at home.

San Jose fire officials say there's another hero: A resident who dived in and brought up the two victims, but officials say he doesn't want to be identified. He said he's happy that his friend and the girl are safe and at home, and maybe in the next few days he'll speak to the media.

The victims also don't want to be identified or interviewed. Rescuers say instinct just kicked in when it was critical.

"When you're thrown into a situation like that, you really don't know what to do, so you're just trying to let everything take over, and fortunately I had the training enough times," Bale said. "It was kind of second-nature."

That kind of quick action and instinct paid off. The homeowner's association is planning to set up CPR training for residents who live near the pool as a safety precaution for the future.

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