“In the moment I was just scared. It was scary, especially because I am a father myself. I didn’t want the child to die.”
This was the recollection of Umhlanga Sands Guest Services manager Meresh Sukdeo, who has been lauded as a hero after resuscitating a 7-year-old boy who nearly drowned in the beachfront resort’s pool at the weekend.
“We were at the front desk and one of our pool attendants came running to us and told us that a kid had drowned,” he said.
“I rushed outside to the pool and found that the child was lying on our stage, which is next to the pool, and I went to the child’s side and started CPR,” he said.
Sukdeo said that as the adrenalin surged, his training took over.
“You’re kneeling there and doing the CPR and the child was not responding. I felt fear. I was just telling the kid to breathe and when he finally opened his eyes and started crying it was like a wave of relief had washed over me,” he said.
“I couldn’t have been doing it for longer than a minute-and-a-half before the boy opened his eyes and started screaming and crying.”
Just four days after the boy’s brush with death, he has returned to school.
“You don’t get to save a life every day and it was really something for me. I did my first aid course in September, so when the moment came for me to use it, everything just seemed fresh in my head and I did it.
“I know guys who have been in the hotel industry who have never had to use their first aid training. This has changed the way I think and I went home on Saturday and told my wife that our two children need to learn how to swim.
“It was a real eye-opener for me,” he said.
“I don’t think it is about being a hero. This is something that anyone would have done for a child. The boy’s parents were so grateful and they left a box of chocolates for me. He is back at school today.”