SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The mother of 8-year-old Ishaan Singh, San Jose’s hero of the week after he helped save a 3-year-old girl and her grandfather from drowning, said her son asked her if he could show up at a news conference held in his honor Wednesday in a limousine.
He did not get his limo ride, but awaiting Ishaan at San Jose’s Fire Station 14 was Fire Chief William McDonald with a plaque honoring him for his efforts in saving the lives of a friend’s little sister and her 69-year-old grandfather at an apartment complex at 355 South Kiely Blvd. on Monday.
“We are really proud of your actions,” McDonald told him.
And the fire chief was not the only one to shower accolades on the Eisenhower Elementary School fourth-grader. Ishaan’s parents, Sarbjit Singh, 33, and Manjit Kaur, 32, praised their son for his “quick thinking” and “good heart.”
Ishaan shyly thanked the crowd of firemen and reporters and said he also was “very proud” of himself.
“I was not scared,” he said. “I was being brave.”
On Monday morning, Kaur had taken Ishaan and his 4-year-old sister Ramneek down to the pool. Around 1 p.m., as she was preparing to leave, Kaur noticed two bodies floating in the pool and asked a friend, “What type of swimming is that?”
Then she realized they were not swimming, but were actually drowning. Not knowing how to swim herself, Kaur immediately called out to Ishaan to jump in and help them.
Ishaan dove in and pushed the little girl to the side of the pool while other residents helped pull her out. Meanwhile, a woman dove in and pushed the grandfather to the side of the pool, and he was also pulled from the water.
Bystanders administered chest compressions on both the man and the little girl until firefighters arrived.
Firefighters arrived within four minutes and found the man and child lying by the side of the pool. They were breathing but were unconscious and unresponsive.
The little girl is doing well but, as of Wednesday afternoon, her grandfather is still hospitalized and in serious condition.
On Wednesday, Ishaan recounted that prior to the incident, he saw the grandfather giving the little girl a piggyback ride in the shallow end of the pool. He said something must have caused the grandfather to slip.
Capt. Mary Gutierrez, a spokeswoman for the fire department, said it is likely the girl was underwater for about three minutes and her grandfather had been underwater for anywhere from three to five minutes.
Last week, a man came to the rescue of a 6-year-old girl and her father at another housing complex pool in San Jose. He found both at the bottom of the pool, pulled them out and helped resuscitate them.
The four survivors in these cases can consider themselves fortunate. Last year, 13 people drowned in Santa Clara County, according to Dr. Martin Fenstersheib, the county’s health officer.
To prevent such incidents, he advised parents to supervise their children at all times and to encourage children to swim with a friend. He said it is best to pull back pool covers all the way and to remove toys and balls from the pool area. He stressed the importance of knowing how to swim and learning basic CPR.
“This was a great outcome and hopefully we won’t see any more of these incidents in our community,” Fenstersheib said.
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