Times Picayune


12-year-old is hailed a hero

for pulling boy, 7, from pool

Boyís hand was sucked Into pool drain

By Paul Rioux

St Tammany bureau/The Times-Picayune


"Iíve been practicing swimming with one arm in case I ever had to save someone from drowning, just like on TV." said David Rageur, who rescued 7-year-old Dylan Carr when Dylanís hand became caught in a motel swimming pool drain Monday.

All summer long, David Rageur has re-enacted dramatic rescues from "Baywatch" one of his favorite TV shows.

"Iíve been practicing swimming with one arm in case I ever had to save someone from drowning, just like on TV," the freckle-faced 12-ycar-o1d said.

All that practice paid off Monday night when David rescued 7-year-old Dylan Carr, whose hand became caught in a drain at the bottom of a swimming pool at a Motel 6 in Slidell, near the Interstate 10-Gausc Boulevard interchange.

The boys were trying to recover an ashtray from the deep end of the outdoor pool about 7 p.m. when Dylanís left hand was sucked into the drain, which was in 5 feet of water, authorities said.

A couple of minutes later, David spotted Dylanís motionless body slumped over the drain.

"He wasnít moving, and his face was all blue. I knew he was going to die if I didnít do something," said David, whose family is staying at the motel while arranging to move from Hickory to Slidell. "I tried to pull him out by the waist, but he wouldnít budge."

An unidentified woman jumped m, but she also could not free the boy.

David dived in for a second attempt, and this time he grabbed the wrist of Dylanís trapped hand and pulled it out of the drain. He then wrapped one arm around Dylan and used his other arm to swim to the surface, whew bystanders helped pull Dylan from the pool.

ĎHis whole body was blueí

After being underwater for more than four minutes, the boy was unconscious and had stopped breathing.

"His whole body was blue, and his lips had swelled up to about five times their normal size," said Dylanís mother, Karen Gary of Oak Grove "1 thought he was dead, and 1 just kept hollering, ĎDid anybody call 911?"

Tracey Dupre, Dylanís aunt., pried the boyís swollen lips open and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, reviving him after about 30 seconds. However, David is the real hero, Dupre said.

"All the CPR in the world would not have saved Dylanís life if David hadnít gotten him out of the water," she said. "It had to be an act of God to give him the strength to pull Dylan out like that."

Dylan was taken to North Shore Regional Medical Center for observation and released later Monday night, Gary said. He was readmitted Tuesday morning when he couldnít keep food down. But he was released again in the afternoon after his condition improved.

'I asked God to help me'

As Dylan played with other children Tuesday afternoon at the motel, the only visible sign of the near-fatal accident was a bandage covering a scrape on his wrist.

"I tried to push myself up, but I couldnít," Dylan recalled. "I asked God to help me, and the next thing I remember was waking up and people doing CPR on me. I thought it was a dream, but it wasnít."

Dylanís family lives in Oak Grove but has been staying at the motel off and on for more than a month while his stepfather, Thomas Gary, installs beds at the parish jail in Covington as part of a major expansion project.

Firefighters said a shield over the poolís drain came loose, letting Dylanís hand be sucked in.

The pool was closed Tuesday, and motel employees referred questions about the incident to Motel 6ís national public relations office.

Spokeswoman Suzanne Cottraux said the company is sending a team to investigate the incident.

"My understanding is that the drain was in perfect order and that the child tried to pry it off," Cottraux said. "It looks like it can be attributed to a little bit of mischief."

But Dylanís mother said the shield has been loose throughout the familyís stay at the motel.

"I told the kids not to go near it," Karen Gary said" But you know kids. They think their mothers donít know anything."

A permanent sign posted on the poolís gate says there is no lifeguard on duty and cautions guests to "swim at their own risk."

ĎHero of the Dayí honored

The Slidell -area Fire Department gave David a lifesaving award Tuesday morning and proclaimed him "Hero of the Day."

"He reacted better than most adults would have. He kept his cool and thought clearly," Fire Chief Milton Kennedy said. "Iím going to recruit this little guy to be a fireman someday-"

Davidís mother, Donna Rageur, held back tears as her son received a plaque and certificate in an impromptu ceremony next to the pool.

"Iím very proud of him," she said. "Heís a straight-A student, but I never knew he could do something like this. Weíve got a genuine hero in our family."

The Rageurs have been staying at the hotel for a month and a half, ever since they were asked to vacate their home in Hickory so the landlordís brother could live there, she said. The family plans to stay at the motel until it saves enough money to move a mobile home from Hickory to Slidell, she said.

Though it hasnít been easy spending his summer vacation at the motel, David said he has enjoyed swimming and making new friends such as Dylan.

When asked whether he felt like a hero, David shrugged and said he just did what he had to do.

"I knew I was little, but there wasnít a lot of people trying to get him out, so I jumped in," he said. "The only thing I could think of was that he was my friend and I wasnít going to let him drown"





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