PICTURE CREDIT: Richard Swingler.
A SCHOOLGIRL who almost drowned at her local swimming pool has been reunited with the off-duty paramedic who saved her life.
Eleven-year-old Carrie-Anne Anthony was hauled from the water by her grandfather after she got into difficulty at Aberdare Swimming Pool.
Paramedic Treena Sullivan, who was swimming nearby with her six-month-old daughter, sprung into action and began to administer life-saving CPR.
Carrie-Anne’s grandfather Peter Howells recalled what happened.
He said: “A group of us were in the shallow pool, when Carrie-Anne asked if she could go and see her friend. I said it was OK, but after a while I couldn’t see or hear her. I went to investigate and asked her friend where she was.
“She pointed to the pool steps, where she thought Carrie-Anne was swimming underwater. It was at that point I sensed something was wrong.
“I lifted her out and shouted for help. Mrs Sullivan came across and took over things completely. I had to be moved into another room, because it was just too distressing to watch.”
Peter suspects Carrie-Anne, who has severe epilepsy, may have suffered a seizure while underwater.
Treena, who has worked for the Welsh Ambulance Service for nearly 20 years, said: “I was swimming with my daughter Erin, when I heard a scream from Carrie-Anne’s grandfather. I told the lifeguards who I was and began immediate CPR.”
Minutes later, Treena’s colleagues arrived in an ambulance and rushed Carrie-Anne to the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.
Three days later she was transferred to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where she spent a further four days in recovery.
This week, the Blaengwawr Comprehensive School pupil and her grandfather had an emotional reunion with Treena.
Peter, 51, said: “We were lucky that Mrs Sullivan was there that day, she really was in the right place at the right time. She saved Carrie-Anne’s life.”
Treena, whose husband Dai is a Clinical Team Leader at the Welsh Ambulance Service, added: “Even though it’s what I do for a living, the whole thing was quite upsetting, especially for me as a new mother. But I’m thrilled Carrie-Anne made a full recovery, and I wish her and her family all the best.”
Carrie-Anne has now taken up regular swimming lessons to build up her confidence, following the near tragedy last August.
“She won’t let this get her down,” said Peter. “She’s a born fighter.”