With public pools opening for the season across the country, more and more people are at risk for drowning.
A chilling video posted this week by manager Kevin Rowland at Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Park in North Charleston, South Carolina, showed dozens of swimmers in the public wave pool, seemingly fine and playing around. But unbeknownst to those around him, a young boy suddenly fell off his inner tube and immediately started struggling.
Luckily, the eagle-eyed lifeguard responded within seconds, ultimately saving the boy.
“I started taking them for training purposes and now people all over the world see them for lifeguard training sessions,” Rowland told ABC News of the shocking rescue caught on camera. “I never really saw real life situations to compare it to, and kids these days getting trained need something scarier to hold their attention.”
This video has more than 1.2 million views since it was posted on June 16, but his YouTube page, Lifeguard Rescue, has more than 20 other examples of scary near-drowning situations that he’s hoping will help people spot the sometimes subtle signs of drowning.
“All of the videos I post on my YouTube channel are real scenarios that occur in the wave pool over the course of a day. Nothing is faked or set up,” he explained.
Safety experts are also urging parents to stay vigilant.
“When the movies have that person that’s making all sorts of motion and everything else, that is not really what it’s like. If a person can make that noise and everything else, they might be in trouble, but they’re still, ‘OK,’” said Bill Kirkner, Baltimore JCC aquatic director, on “Good Morning America.”
Experts say in 10 percent of drownings, adults nearby have no idea what is happening.
In reality, when someone is drowning, they often can’t scream out or wave their arms. Instead, look for a head bobbing above and below the surface, tilted back with an open mouth and vertical body.
“They’re not able to do anything other than gasping for air,” said Dr. Morgen Bernius, an emergency medicine doctor at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore.
Noticing these signs in time can mean the difference between life and death at the pool this summer.