THE heroic actions of a Wearside swimmer helped save the life of a drowning man.
Emma Potts was swimming under the water at Washington Leisure Centre when she saw a man slumped in the corner at the bottom of the pool.
The 32-year-old managed to get the man over her shoulder and take him back to the top, where leisure centre staff gave him emergency resuscitation.
The mum-of-one, said: “There was a kids’ event on and the pool was really busy, so I just decided I would do some lengths along the bottom of the pool.
“I noticed a man who had sunk to the bottom in the corner, so I thought I had better take a look, and realised he had passed out.
“Instinct just kicked in and I managed to get him to the top of the pool.
“By this time, people had realised something was wrong and the staff were there to get him out.
“The CPR seemed to take a lifetime. It must have gone on for five to nine minutes, but the lad was fantastic, he didn’t give up, just kept going, and eventually the man came round.”
Paramedics arrived on the scene and took the man, in his 30s, to hospital. He is not thought to have had a heart attack.
Strong swimmer Emma, who lives with her partner, Gary Addison and two-year-old daughter, Grace, in Barrington Drive, Washington, said: “He was very, very lucky that I just happened to decide to swim on the bottom, because the way he was positioned no one would have been able to see him from above the water.
“I don’t know how long he had been there, but he was blue in the face when I found him.”
Emma, who works at Smithers Oasis floral supply firm in Washington, said she didn’t see it as heroic, she was just in the right place at the right time when the incident happened on Tuesday evening.
She added: “It was really nerve-wracking at the time, but I didn’t really think about what I had done. It was more the next morning when it had sunk in.”
Councillor John Kelly, portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture at Sunderland City Council, said: “We hope the gentleman is making a good recovery and would like to pass on the best wishes of all staff at Washington Leisure Centre who were involved in his rescue.
“All our staff are trained lifeguards and took immediate action once they could see he was in difficulties in the water.
“We’d like to thank the customer Emma Potts, who was closest to the gentleman in the pool at the time, and assisted staff in bringing him to poolside before he was lifted out of the pool and administered CPR.”
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