First responders recount near-drowning at Grand Island High School

Grand Island fire crews and onlookers had to work quickly Sunday to help a 10-year-old boy who had to be pulled from a pool.

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) – Several people jumped into action over the weekend to save a 10-year-old boy from drowning in a pool. It happened Sunday during the Town of Grand Island’s open swim at Grand Island High School.

“Sometimes it’s tough, especially when it’s a child involved,” said Michael Haynes, a firefighter with the Grand Island Fire Company. “But you have to do what you have to do to make it work.

Haynes is one of several first responders and bystanders being credited with saving the boy’s life.

“If the lifeguards weren’t paying attention and not doing their job, which they were, he could have been in the water longer,” said Grand Island Fire Captain Jourdain Benoit. “They were playing in the water, trying to reach the bottom of the water. If it was an extra minute or so, it could have changed the outcome.”

The drama unfolded over the course of minutes at the high school pool. At 2:06 p.m., fire officials received a 911 call for a boy not breathing at the pool. At 2:09, Haynes was the first firefighter on scene.

“At that time, I had taken over, and turned him on his side,” he explained. “At that point, he had shallow breathing.”

The boy, whose identity hasn’t been released, began breathing one minute after Haynes arrived. Captain Benoit and Lieutenant Donald Turner, a paramedic, soon joined. First responders then applied a suction device.

“Our whole goal is to clear the airway, make sure there is an even flow path for oxygen from outside the body to reach the lungs,” explained Turner.

“Chances were drastically improving as our care was working effectively,” he added.

The boy was rushed from the school to Oishei Children’s Hospital. His family joined Turner in the ambulance.

The first responders say it all started with the work done by people who were at the school and took immediate action. That’s why they’re calling on everyone to learn CPR.

“Anybody that can be trained to help, it always helps,” said Haynes. “That day, it made a big difference in the outcome.”

This weekend’s open swim in Grand Island will not take place, according to the town’s recreation superintendent. It’s not clear when it will resume. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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