Lifeguard saves little girl from drowning as he leaps into the pool

DRAMA The pool at Southsea's Pyramids Centre
DRAMA The pool at Southsea's Pyramids Centre
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A LIFEGUARD has told how he jumped into the water to save a drowning little girl at Southsea’s Pyramids Centre.

James Liddell, 20, was on duty when the girl, aged between four and six, was seen face down at the pool in the Pyramids Centre, in Southsea.

Two members of the public told The News the girl was ‘blue’ and motionless and they feared she had drowned.

Mr Liddell said: ‘She was swimming fine at first, then a good 10, 12 or 15 seconds later I was scanning the pool and I saw her body again – she was slightly underwater.

‘I jumped in and got her straight out – she was exhaling water all over her face.

‘I was nervous – I was really worried that she was in serious trouble.

‘I was so focused on making sure she was OK.’

Mr Liddell said he took a moment to assess what she needed when he pulled her from the water, before deciding she needed CPR.

He added: ‘I put her on the side, I was still in the pool.

‘My friend did two rescue breaths.

‘You’re meant to do five and he did two initial ones and then she came back straight away.’

Brothers James Baggott, 32, of North Close, Gosport, and Will Baggott, 27, of Arminers Close, Gosport, were with their daughters Lily, eight, and Freya, two.

The pair said around 25 swimmers stood round the pool watching as the girl was taken to the side of the pool.

Will said: ‘I said to Lily, “quick, come on let’s go out the pool”. To me, it was plain to see that was a person who was not alive. It brought a tear to my eye because I was just so shocked.’

He added the girl’s mother came from another pool.

James Baggott said: ‘We reckon she was under the water for at least a couple of minutes, maybe more.

‘The problem was no-one took control of the situation.

‘I had to shout at them, “which one of you is first aid trained?” And I said you’ve got to start CPR on this girl now.’

But he added: ‘That girl would have died if he hadn’t jumped in when he did. In the whole pool – people were crying.’

The Pyramids has a rule that children under the age of eight must be accompanied by an adult.

Gary Milne, the chief operating officer of SCLL, the operator of the Pyramids, said his team had followed procedures and reacted in a ‘textbook way’ to the situation. The emergency action plan was instigated and the young girl was rescued and first aid carried out,’ he said.

‘After all such incidents we review our procedures and protocols as standard.’

An ambulance took the girl to hospital to be checked over.

· DO you know who the girl was? Call our newsdesk on (023) 9262 2118.