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Child nearly drowns in pool

A 5-year-old who was pulled unconscious Thursday from the bottom of a Rock Hill city-owned pool and revived was in critical condition Friday at a Charlotte hospital.

Michael Mayo, 5, of Rock Hill was transported Thursday to Piedmont Medical Center, according to a report from the Rock Hill Police Department. Michael was later transferred to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, said Alison Mallard, PMC communications assistant.

The child remained in critical condition Friday night, a CMC official said. The Herald could not reach the child's family for comment on Friday.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael's family," said Mark Houff, owner of U.S. Aquatics, a Charlotte business that manages the lifeguards at the Oakwood Acres pool.

Police responded to Montclair Drive for a possible drowning at the pool around 4 p.m. Thursday. Police were told that the child was in the area of that pool designated as 12 feet, the report notes.

Sixteen-year-old Valencia Frazier walked along the side of the pool. Two woman were in the deep section as adult swim began and as lifeguards were changing shifts, Frazier said.

"We saw something at the bottom of the pool," Valencia said. "At first, I didn't realize what it was."

Valencia, a Northwestern High School student trained in lifeguard and CPR skills, said the women sent her to get a lifeguard, who was about 20 feet away at the other end of the pool.

"I beat the lifeguard back," Valencia said. "I jumped in the pool to help the ladies lift the little boy out."

Although the trio struggled with the child's weight, they managed to get him out of the pool, Valencia said.

"He was not breathing at all," she said. "His lips were blue."

The police report notes Michael eventually responded to CPR that was given by Marshall Collins, a lifeguard.

"I was sitting beside him (Michael), holding his hand and constantly talking to him, trying to get him to respond," Valencia said. "Finally, he started responding. He squeezed my hand tight."

Collins was on lifeguard duty Friday and could not be reached. Other pool workers declined to comment on Friday.

"We're really proud of our staff," Houff said.

Ed Thompson, director of the Rock Hill Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, said the incident remains under investigation.

"We are sorry the incident happened," Thompson said. "We will continue to investigate what happened to try to minimize it happening again."

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