AUSTIN, Texas When Adrianna Kruger saw a man swim into the water Saturday at the Barton Creek greenbelt in Southwest Austin screaming that his son had disappeared, the former lifeguard had a feeling that she might be called upon to perform CPR.
Sure enough, when 5-year-old Riley Yarbrough was pulled from the water with a bleeding head wound, Kruger, 21, breathed life back into the unconscious, blue-skinned boy.
Authorities said the boy was playing in the water near Twin Falls with his family about 2 p.m. when he was swept under and injured his head.
About a minute after the boy went under, two bystanders, who were not immediately identified, pulled him out. His heart wasn’t beating, authorities said.
Kruger said she knew immediately what she had to do.
“I ran over, told them I knew (cardiopulmonary resusc- itation) and started chest compressions and breathing,” said Kruger, a University of Oklahoma student who is visiting her boyfriend in Austin.
Another man started pressing on Riley’s chest while Kruger continued to breathe into his mouth.
The efforts paid off about a minute later, when he began to cough up water and cry.
“Once I heard him cry, I knew he would be OK,” she said. “It was the best feeling ever.”
The boy was transported to Children’s Hospital of Austin, where he was listed in good condition.
His family declined to comment Saturday.
Kruger said that the rescue was a team effort and that the men who pulled Riley out of the water and the man who assisted her with the CPR deserve equal credit for saving the boy.
Because the pool area is about 10 minutes from the nearest road, Austin/Travis County Emergency Medical Services District Commander Eric Jakubauskas said, the boy could have died if Kruger and the other bystanders had not acted so quickly.
“Kids crash quickly without oxygen,” Jakubauskas said. “If they hadn’t done CPR, there could have been serious problems for this boy.”
Jakubauskas said that knowing simple skills such as CPR goes a long way toward saving lives.
He also warned that Barton Creek is more dangerous than many people think.
“When it rains, Barton Creek isn’t the dry little creek we all love,” Jakubauskas said.
EMS spokesman Warren Hassinger said bystander aid, like the kind Kruger and the others gave Riley, can mean the difference between life and death.
“They changed his life today,” Hassinger said. “All the hospitals in the world won’t do you any good if you’re dead before you get there.”