Boy rescued from N.J. casino pool

April 15, 2009 3:48:07 PM PDT
A Philadelphia boy is recovering after nearly drowning at Harrah's Casino in Atlantic City.

11-year-old Gabrielle Schiavo of Somerdale and her 12-year-old brother David were swimming in the family pool at Harrah's resort in Atlantic City yesterday afternoon.

That's when Gabrielle, a Girl Scout, spotted a 7-year-old boy lying face down at the bottom of the pool. She sprung into action.

"I grabbed him on the arm," she said. "He was at the deep end of the pool. I grabbed him with one arm and started swimming up with the other."

"I started helping her move him up," said David Schiavo. "I knew he needed help, so I pulled him up on the cement.

Dylan Sheridan witnessed the dramatic rescue. "[The boy's] mom was screaming and everyone was screaming," said Sheridan. "And a person was going around saying, 'Who knows CPR?'"

It was just then that paramedic Kelly Hauler-Saunders of Winslow, N.J., on vacation with her husband and four kids, came out of the locker room, saw what was happening, dialed 9-1-1 and immediately began CPR.

"At one point I'd get a pulse back. But then it went away again so we continued the CPR," said Hauler-Saunders.

The boy was revived at a local hospital then transferred to Cooper University Hospital in Camden. He is from Philadelphia but his name has not been released.

Today officials at Harrah's expressed concern about the child's well-being. The pool had no lifeguard and was clearly marked that that was the case.

Hauler-Saunders' children were watching as she helped the boy. "I leaned over to my brother and I said, 'I can't believe that's Mom in action,'" said daughter Lauren Hauler.

"You just never want to be in that situation," said Kelly. "But when you are thrust into it you just do it, you just do what you have to do."

The family says they are thinking of and praying for the little boy who nearly drowned, hoping he recovers. And they are glad Kelly was there to help.

Gabrielle and David Schiavo expressed similar feelings. And because of the combined efforts of all the rescuers, the boy who nearly drowned now has a chance to live.

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