Flight purser from Mumbai rescues boy from drowning in Goa pool

May 30, 2016, 08:40 IST | Neha LM Tripathi

In the absence of any medical help, a Bandra-based Air India employee performs CPR on a 5-year-old child who sank in a South Goa resort's swimming pool and revives him

Panic struck a South Goa resort when a 5-year-old boy stopped breathing while playing in their pool. With 30 minutes to go before the ambulance arrived, a Bandra-based Air India purser brought the child back to life.

The child, Arpan Thakur and Neil Pais
The child, Arpan Thakur and Neil Pais

At 7.30 pm on Friday, when Neil Pais — a manager and flight purser with Air India — stepped out of the swimming pool and was handing his towel to an attendant, he noticed others looking in the pool’s direction. That’s when he saw the child, Arpan Thakur, under water. Before he could dive in, an attendant dove in and got the kid out.

Taking charge
Arpan had stopped breathing by then. Pais immediately took charge of the situation. He knew that the emergency skills he had acquired while training for his job would come in handy there. Pais told mid-day, “Since the boy was deep in the pool, it wasn’t clear if it was an adult or a child, or whether the person was swimming or had drowned. However, when the child was pulled out, he wasn’t breathing at all. After realising that there were no doctors or trained people around, I took over and asked the crowd, which included his parents, who are from Kandivli, to step away and provide breathing space.”

He performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the child, which failed to revive him in the first two attempts. “Since we are trained to handle passengers in emergency situations on a flight, I started performing CPR on him. But it was only in the third set that the child responded. It was when he started breathing on his own that I took him to a nearby room under a fan. I found then that his pulse was feeble,” Pais said, adding that the ambulance service the resort authorities had called said it would at least take 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

They even called for doctors. Arpan’s relatives, who are doctors, weren’t present at the resort at the time.

“After Arpan was okay, one of his cousins told me that he was the same kid my son and I were playing Frisbee with earlier in the day. For me, saving the child and reviving him was the highest priority,” said Pais, who returned to Mumbai on Saturday, and has been in touch with the Thakurs to keep track of the child’s heath. Both, the Pais and Thakur families were on a vacation in Goa. Jitendra Thakur, Arpan’s father, told mid-day, “Arpan was playing with his cousins in the shallow end of the pool and later entered the deeper area. Unfortunately, his cousins didn’t notice that. He doesn’t know how to swim. He was thankfully revived in around 30 minutes and is completely fine now.”

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