Signs of Drowning

A while back someone posted signs of someone distressed in the water and about to drown.

Can you (whoever it was) find it and post it again?

A kid nearly drowned in a pool close to home yesterday and I would like to see the signs again. The kid is still unresponsive today.

I remember that thread and can’t
find it.

maybe g2d can. Here is a link to what I think it said

Some info in this presentation:

I’ve seen this presentation live and it is very worthwhile.


That kid needs immediate care by a doc
who understands near drowning. It’s time for a specialist.

I don’t think …
…he’s asking question about the drown kid.

I believe he’s seeking the info in case he sees another one like it and be able to spot it sooner.

Red Cross Lifesaving manual

Recognition starts on page 34

That story
brought back memories from a long time ago.

The boy died this morning when they pulled the plug. He was basically on life support with no hope left. The community is in shock and the pool remains closed.

Drowning does not look like Drowning !
There are SPECIFIC things to look for !

  • No air means they can’t yell, ask for help, etc.

    Characteristics of the Instinctive Drowning Response:
  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. Th e respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary, or overlaid, function. Breathing must be fulfi lled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. Th e mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as

    their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water,

    permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Th roughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer,

    or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water

    from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

Too Sad
Wall of text follows, read if you wish:

Too many drownings occur and most are quite avoidable. Someone has already posted the signs, but there is little time to decide whether or not to respond to a drowning. A rescuer must make a determination quickly and know that responding too soon is always more prudent, if not only because it leaves the rescuer more options.

I’ve performed 7 in water rescues and many more from the side of the pools where I’ve worked. I’ve found the following to be true:

  1. If you can avoid being in the water, do so. Drowning people are, as one poster has pointed out, beyond reason and remarkably strong. You don’t want to be in the water if you can avoid it. The throw, reach go philosophy gives the rescuer the most chances to avoid a difficult situation.

  2. Rescue gear is available in most pool environs and gives you a way to reach a swimmer without risk. It never hurts to reach with a crook or a pole and if the person in the water needs same, they’ll grab on and won’t let go. Throw rope/bouy/ring is required at all public pools and are a good 2nd choice. Home pools often lack some of these devices, but most have a skimming pole that will work nicely. If you aren’t sure whether the swimmer needs help, it doesn’t hurt to extend the pole anyway. Those that don’t need the assist usually bat the pole away, for some reason.

  3. Supervision : home pools are really lacking in supervision and are a common source of drownings, but busy public pools can have hundreds of moving, yelling, wrestling people which makes it difficult to see, identify, and respond to the rare event of a drowning person in the the pool. Even the most experienced guards can’t recognize all dangerous situations amidst all this confusion.

    When I started guarding, we used to have multiple guards even at small pools, increasing the number of eyes and viewing angles of the pools. Today, due to cost cutting, most pools, regardless of size, have only one or two guards working and not only is the coverage insufficient, the odds are that the guard on duty is a recent graduate of high school with relatively little experience. I expect this kind of tragedy will not be rare. The positive side is that there are more junior guarding programs than there used to be, so some entry level guards are better trained than I was when I first started.

  4. My brother-in-law, a trained guard, was present during a drowning at a lake where he and some friends were playing volleyball. When the ball went into the lake (at a very windy site), one of the players chased it into the lake. The wind and his inability to trap the ball by grabbing it from the top pushed him further and further away from shore and he simply swam beyond his skills (one reason water polo training on how to pick up a ball from the bottom can be useful for all swimmers, btw). When those on shore realized the boy was in trouble, it was too late.

    My bro’s description of how he felt as he was diving through the exhaled air bubbles of his sinking friend were simply heartbreaking.

  5. Recognizing the danger is really not very easy. I one rescued a SCUBA diver who was fighting his way to shore through high surf and rip current. He would likely have been ok, but I didn’t like the conditions so I stripped to the swimsuit and dove in. He was tired, but not panicked, so the rescue went smoothly, but due to the gear and it’s mass, this can be a dangerous rescue to perform without a throw line. I didn’t always bring a throw line to the water when I was younger, but I always do now.

    We had two boys drown when I was in college when they swam to a floating log in the current. By the time they reached the log, the cool water and current had sapped their ability to return to shore. They drifted by an estimated 50 potential people who may have made a rescue or recognized their situation, but who assumed the waving and yelling from the boys was simply a greeting and not the call for help it actually was. So it is always better to assume a rescue is needed and get confirmation than the other way around.

    I can’t help but be saddened by this report and the many others I read about each swim season. I can’t help hoping that more and more of us will get the training and gear required to perform rescues when personnel will be harder to find due to cost cutting at all levels.

    On a more basic level, I recommend that everyone who plans to spend time on the water make the effort to increase their ability and comfort in the water and work up to the point where they at least take a basic lifesaving class from a local source (community college classes, if available, are usually the cheapest). There is a side benefit in that the better trained you are, the more confident you will be in the boat, particularly when it comes to challenging a new skill (such as a roll).

    My thoughts go out to this family.


Thanks Rick and others
The boy was 6 years old and came to the pool with his grandpa.

Another boy was teaching him how to swim and when he realized the boy was in trouble he went for help to a lifeguard. The boy was actually found when he drifted by an adult near his legs and the adult picked him up before any of the lifeguards came. CPR wasn’t soon enough apparently.

link to article by Mario Vittone
Here is the link to this very important article:


The boy’s heart has now been transplanted into another boy’s body to give him life.