July 18, 2008

Girl Nearly Drowns at Lake Samish

By Peter Jensen, The Bellingham Herald, Wash.

Jul. 17--Charity Jacobsen, a nurse in training who just happened to be at the lake, saw the girl was purple, her lips were blue and she wasn't moving. Jacobsen's education kicked in, and she began performing CPR.

"My first thought was, this child is dead," Jacobsen said. "My adrenaline just kind of took over. I just had a CPR class last winter. It was only a day class, but I sort of remembered what to do."

Jacobsen said the girl started moaning and then began crying. She eventually opened her eyes and her skin color returned to normal.

Medics arrived and, the girl was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph Hospital, said Rod Topel, the division chief of Whatcom County Fire District No. 2.

Topel would not release the child's name or age. Jacobsen guessed the girl is a preteen.

Whatcom County Parks and Recreation has not had lifeguards at the swimming area for the last two years because none could be recruited, said Lynne Givler, parks operations manager.

Despite offering $11 per hour for the position this year, the department received only two applications and neither had lake experience.

"For us it wasn't a question of wanting the lifeguards, it was availability," parks Director Michael McFarlane said.

The last person to drown at the park was Angel Mendez, 9, in 1992.


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