5-year old saved at McCarren Pool
On day five in a six-day heatwave, public pools are a very popular spot for a joyful cooldown. However, at around 7 p.m. on July 24, near tragedy smothered the joy at the McCarren Pool. Tragedy was prevented thanks to a hero who was enjoying an after-work chillout in the pool. Anthony Torres, a former life guard, spotted a five-year-old boy face down in the water at the bottom of the pool, and immediately his rescue reflex moved him to action.
“When I picked him up out of the water, I kept screaming ‘Help!’ and not one lifeguard would come to his aid or help me at all,” Torres said to CBS2.
Several at the pool stated that the pool was full of people, and it might have been hard to see the boy in distress. Also, because many people were still in the pool some lifeguards needed to remain at their posts. Two life guards responded to Torres’ call for CPR.
A member of Torres’ family reported to the Daily Mail that Torres was “attacked and treated unfairly” by the lifeguards who responded.
The boy was rushed to NYC Heath + Hospitals/Woodhull and expected to recover.
“I hope NYC Parks will fully investigate and review McCarren staffing,” said NYC Council Member Lincoln Restler in a tweet.
Since this summer began, public pools have had to navigate a lifeguard shortage. “Outdoor pools are currently open for swimming. Due to the current national lifeguard shortage, all swim programs, including lap swim, senior swim, and Learn to Swim, have been cancelled for summer 2022. We apologize for the inconvenience,” says a statement on NYC Parks public pools webpages. Parts of McCarren Pool have been roped off to access, so there’s less area to monitor. On July 6, Mayor Adams temporarily increased the starting salary for New York City lifeguards to $19 to encourage more applicants. On July 21, The Cityreported, “Although the city’s Parks Department aims to hire around 1,400 lifeguards each year, as of this week there were just over 850 guards hired, according to a spokesperson.”