9-year-old boy saves toddler from drowning

Published on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 12:38 - Written by Betty Waters blw@tylerpaper.com

[ADDENDUM: Rebecca Richardson, the mother of the nine-year-old, called us to say that an uninvolved adult taking a photo of her own child captured Mason emerging from the water with the toddler in the background. The photo was cropped for news purposes. The fact that the rescue was caught in a photo was accidental. The photographer was unaware that the rescue was taking place.]

A 9-year-old boy saved a toddler that had gotten out of his stroller and tumbled into a swimming pool at a gated south Tyler apartment complex where there is no lifeguard, Rebecca Richardson said Friday.

Her son, Mason, of Bullard, was at the apartment complex with his babysitter when the incident occurred about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Mason saw an 18-month-old boy manage to wiggle out of the stroller, go over to the side of the pool and fall in, Ms. Richardson said.

The toddler’s mother thought he was buckled in and was tending to her 7-year-old when the toddler fell in the pool, Ms. Richardson said.

Ms. Richardson said her son swam over and pulled the toddler out of the water and the baby started crying. About that time, the toddler’s mother looked over and saw him being pulled out of the water, ran over and helped get him to safety, Ms. Richardson said.

She said her son used to have a fear of water and not want to swim because he has asthma, and putting his face in the water was like an asthma attack where he couldn’t breathe.

But he has been taking swimming lessons.

“Not only was I surprised that he’s (become) comfortable swimming, I was amazed at the fact that he actually pulled another child from the pool,” Ms. Richardson said.

She said she is proud of Mason, who will be a fourth-grader this fall at Bullard Elementary School.

The mother of the toddler called Mason “a true hero.”

Ms. Richardson said Mason asked that she share his story to remind other children to be mindful of inexperienced swimmers and watch for them and help because incidents like this can happen in the blink of a eye.

The mother of the toddler took him to a hospital and there were no complications, Ms. Richardson said.