MOUNT VERNON — A potential tragedy on the opening day at Hiawatha Water Park/Pool was averted by the quick action of lifeguard Sierra Hunt.
The 18-year-old was sitting in the diving wall chair when a little boy, estimated to be in second grade, jumped off a diving board into the water.
“He started flailing, and going under and spitting out water,” Hunt said. “I jumped out of my chair and pulled him out of the water. He was choking on water. I felt so bad [for him].”
This is the first time Hunt, who is in her fourth year as a lifeguard, has ever had to make such a dramatic rescue.
“I was always afraid when the time came for me to save someone there would be some hesitation and I wouldn’t know what to do,” Hunt said. “There was no hesitation. It just happened. I knew exactly what to do.”
Asked how she felt about the rescue she said, “It made me feel good. I felt really good. I saved somebody’s life. He was drowning.”
Brent Turner, who was at the pool with his grandchild, called Hunt a hero. “It was quick. She was quick. She was in there and pulled the little boy out. I saw him going under a couple of times and she was already in the water. I was very impressed. It shows the good management and training of the pool staff.”