Neighbor helped save toddler found in pond

January 2, 2009 10:25:32 AM PST
A Spring Lake boy remains hospitalized after almost drowning in a man-made pond.

Cumberland County sheriff's officials say Ramel McArthur is still in serious condition at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

The 1-and-a-half-year-old was found floating face down in a goldfish pond in the backyard of his grandfather's home on Christmas Eve. The child had been playing outside as his grandfather, Thomas Livingston, and a next door neighbor were talking across a fence separating their two properties.

Livingston's neighbor, Floyd Flythe, said he will never forget this Christmas. Flythe said his neighbor's backyard is a haven for children.

It's where Livingston's grandchildren swing, play with toys and go swimming.

Livingston said he didn't see his grandchild and assumed he had gone inside the house.

"One of the granddaughters came up and we thought the kid left with him, so we continued to talk," Flythe explained. "And he said let me go check on my grandson. I don't see him. He went around the shed and he was laying face down in the pool."

The man-made pond has a foot of water in it. Flythe said little Ramel's body was lifeless. He pulled the child from the water and started administering CPR while Livingston rushed to call 911.

"When we first pulled him up, he was full of water so I started pressing the water out through his stomach and then resuscitating his heart and he slowly [began] breathing," Flythe said. "Then he would go and come -- go and come. Then all of a sudden he would stop. So I continued that on until the paramedics arrived."

Paramedics rushed the child to Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg. He was then transported to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

The child's grandfather was so overcome with emotion, he too was taken to the hospital for treatment. Livingston is OK but he is still worried about his grandson.

Ramel's second birthday is December 28.


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