Lifeguard who rescued 10-year-old boy from drowning: 'I knew there was something wrong'
Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com
They each grabbed one of their classmate’s arms, and had to hold the boy’s face out of the water. But they didn't scream for help.
It wasn’t until they were about 20 feet from the shore of the swimming area that they caught the eye of park Superintendent Brian Machemer, who jumped into action — running from his post in a life guard chair across the beach into the shallow water, where he picked the boy up.
“I knew there was something wrong as soon as I touched him,” Machemer said. “He felt like a dead weight.”
It would be the first time in his 30-year career in the parks system — more than a decade of which has been spent at Independence Lake — that Machemer would save the life of someone using CPR.
Emergency crews transported the boy to the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, where he remained in critical but stable condition Wednesday.
When he pulled the boy from the water to the beach, Machemer said he couldn’t feel a pulse and the boy wasn’t breathing.
Immediately, Machemer began performing first aid. Several people on the beach ran to help.
After administering CPR, Machemer said he began to feel a pulse in the boy.
Someone brought out a defibrillator — and it was after using the device that Machemer said he saw life come back into him.
“It could be five minutes and it seemed like three hours,” Machemer said of the moments between grabbing the boy from the water and when the ambulance arrived.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The boy and his classmates were a part of a group of about 50 students from Erickson Elementary School in Ypsilanti that traveled to Independence Lake County Park in Webster Township for a three-day field trip. It's a trip the school takes every year, Machemer said.
The students do activities throughout the afternoon and swim at the end of the day. Wednesday afternoon, the school group had returned to the park for their field trip as planned.
Erickson Elementary School Principal Kevin Carney met with the classes involved with the event and gave them all the information on the boy’s status he could.
Machemer said he is still waiting to hear what happened to the boy.
“Until he’s walking out of the hospital I’m reserving my feelings until then,” Machemer said.