Lifeguards praised after pool rescue

Brad Smith, Carolyn Smyth, Roberto Jimenez, Joe Hitchmough, Claudia Russell, Geoff Smyth and Joanna Hurst.

Brad Smith, Carolyn Smyth, Roberto Jimenez, Joe Hitchmough, Claudia Russell, Geoff Smyth and Joanna Hurst.

A big thank you to long-term Salt Ayre customer Geoff Smyth, who came in to the centre recently to thank the team who saved his life in a dramatic pool rescue last month.

Geoff, who lives in Bolton-le-Sands with his wife, Carolyn, was taking a swim after a fitness class in October when he fell ill and dropped to the bottom of the pool.

“I went for my swim as usual and I was about half way down the pool when I was quickly aware that I wasn’t going very far,” Geoff explained.

“I tried to make for the side of the pool and though I had my faculties about me and knew what I wanted to do, my body didn’t follow.

“The last thing I remember before waking up in hospital is my feet being at the bottom of the pool and my head was underwater.”

Joe Hitchmough, who had only just started his lifeguard shift, quickly spotted that Geoff was in danger, and dived in to rescue him from the depths of the pool.

“My training just kicked in,” said Joe.

“It was all a bit of a blur, but I remember diving in and fishing him up and taking him to the side. It was amazing to then see how everyone worked as a team to bring him out and start work on CPR in just a matter of seconds.

“Because of all the training we do it was second nature – you just know what to do and how to do it.”

Other members of the lifeguard team, Brad Smith and Joanna Hurst, ably assisted by duty managers Claudia Russell and Roberto Jimenez, brought Geoff onto poolside, performed CPR and ensured his lungs were clear of water, before he was taken by ambulance to the RLI.

After spending a few days in hospital Geoff was released and is now making a recovery, which Salt Ayre will be helping with through the Active Lives team.

Stuart Glover, centre manager, added: “Incidents such as this are thankfully rare but the reason why we put so much effort into ensuring all our staff are fully trained in rescue techniques.

“Everyone was brilliant, knew what their jobs were and did them brilliantly. That also extends to the wider Salt Ayre team, from the receptionists who called the ambulance, to the centre assistants who waited for the paramedics and directed them to the pool. In all there were probably 25 people involved and I’m proud of every single one of them.”

Despite undergoing a number of tests, doctors have not yet been able to diagnose behind Geoff’s sudden illness in the pool. Whatever the reason, he’s just glad that the Salt Ayre team were there when needed.

“Without them I wouldn’t be here today, that’s for sure,” he added.

Last updated: 20 November 2019