A day by the pool could have ended in tragedy if not for the quick thinking of 10-year-old Parissa Samuels that saved the day and saved a life.
Last Sunday, August 29, little Parissa put her swim training to use to rescue her three-year-old cousin Nicholea Thompson from drowning after she slipped and fell into the deep end of the pool at home.
Parissa's mother, Nekeisha Jacobs-Samuels, told the Jamaica Observer that Nicholea and four-year-old Pierce-Neyo Samuels had wandered off to the pool side playing when misfortune struck.
Jacobs-Samuels said the cameras at home showed Nicholea falling into the pool backwards and was struggling under water for a while until she stopped moving, looking lifeless for about 11 seconds.
It was then that Pierce-Neyo yelled to his aunt and within seconds Parissa sprinted and dived to the bottom of the pool bringing Nicholea up for air.
Though shell-shocked, Nicholea's grandmother, Mavis Samuels, rushed with her to the gate and screamed for help.
“The neighbours rushed out as if they were family. The neighbour, Renee Facey, started to perform CPR and Mr Rohan English, who was a couple houses down the street, heard the cry for help and came with his vehicle without hesitation and rushed off with Renee and the baby to the hospital,” Jacobs-Samuels related.
She said on the way to the hospital Nicholea vomited the excess water and started to breathe again from the continuous CPR administered by Facey.
Little Nicholea was assisted by the health-care workers at Cornwall Regional Hospital who gave her oxygen and ran some tests to make sure her lungs were cleared. She was discharged the following day and is doing well.
Parissa's amazing rescue has been likened to that performed by a superhero in the movies and she is now being hailed as a lifesaver, in addition to swimmer, social butterfly, and peacemaker.
It was also revealed that this is the second time she has saved a child from drowning. The first rescue occurred last year at Wespow Park during her swim training.
Parissa, who wants to become a TV host and a swim coach, told the Sunday Observer she was proud she was able to act so swiftly and was extremely happy that her cousin regained consciousness.
For Jacobs-Samuels, there are important lessons to be learned from the experience.
“Teach your kids to be as fearless, confident, and courageous like Parissa,” she said. “Teach your kids how to swim so that they can not only save their own life, but also save the lives of others. Do not let kids out of your sight for any extended period of time. Children will wander off and if you don't hear them for a few seconds, just like in this video, go off and see what they are getting themselves into. This could have been tragic if no one was watching them. Most importantly, be good neighbours so that when there is an emergency they won't hesitate to assist you; this also helps to build successful communities.”