Toddler rescued from pond

May 13, 2008 4:06:10 PM PDT
It's hard to believe a young, energetic toddler nearly drowned two days ago. Two year old Devon Armburster was with relatives in the kitchen after Mother's Day dinner one minute... and gone from sight the next. Devon's mother Joyce Zehner told Action News, "I looked all around the house and couldn't find him. So I walked out on porch and seen him face down in the pond." Devon's face was blue, his lips purple and he wasn't breathing. It wasn't clear how long Devon had been in the fish pond behind his grandmother's Browns Mills, New Jersey home.

"I just thought my whole life was over, you know," his mother said.

Devon's Uncle Charlie tried to revive the toddler with coaching instructions Grandpop got from 9-1-1 dispatcher Tim Viereck. "I want you to tilt his head back. I want you to pinch his nose and breathe into his mouth," Viereck told them over the phone. "I needed them to get air into the child's lungs."

"Breathe 2,3,4, 5. Breathe two three... I want you to keep doing it. Keep doing it."

After about a minute, everyone's worst fears were quieted by the sound of Devon gasping for air.

"I feel his pulse. Ok you feel his pulse? Yeah. He's starting to move," the uncle responded. "It's a horrible experience. You don't know how quick things happen till they happen."

Doctors say Devon will be fine. It seems he may have slipped outside through sliding glass doors left open for the family dogs, and fell into the 18 inch deep pond while trying to reach for fish.

Viereck, who's also an EMT, firefighter, CPR instructor and father of a five year old, says it doesn't take much.

"A kid could drown in a mud puddle. That's how shallow it could be," says Viereck.

Charlie Maughn, Devon's uncle, says "We should have had something around it to prevent what happened. If we took better precautions it would have never happened."

Experts suggest putting a latched fence around pools and ponds. This family has decided to fill the fish pond with dirt and insure no tragedy befalls Devon or anyone else here again.