A summer beach day took a dangerous turn on Tuesday when two teenagers nearly drowned at the North Idaho College Beach in Coeur d’Alene.
Thanks to beachgoers and attendants, as well as emergency responders, one teenager has been released from the hospital and the other is in good condition there as of Thursday afternoon, according to Kootenai Health.
Preston DeMarre, 17, was on his way to the beach to meet friend Garrett Leonard, 15, DeMarre, said Thursday.
Leonard, he said, was first on the scene around 4 p.m. and arrived to the commotion of two teenagers unconscious underwater. Seeing them about 10 feet underwater, he dove in and pulled one of them up.
That’s when DeMarre arrived and bystanders then called 911.
“I decided to do CPR on him” for several minutes, DeMarre said. The victim then spit up water and regained consciousness.
While DeMarre and Leonard were helping one of the teenagers, several beach attendants at North Idaho College’s rental shack were rescuing the other.
Lane Stidham, 19, an off-duty beach attendant, pulled the second teen from the water, said Terry Brinton, coordinator of Outdoor Pursuits for NIC.
With the help of on-duty attendants Tyler Wilson and Lucy Mendez, someone called 911 and the second teenager received CPR.
“It could have easily gone the other way in a matter of moments,” said Brinton, who arrived at the scene later.
The Coeur d’Alene Fire Department arrived soon thereafter.
“The quicker we can start bystander CPR, the better we see outcomes being,” said Public Information Officer Craig Etherton. “All in all for the outcome, it was definitely good for the boys because had nobody tried to get them out of the water and they just waited for us to get there, the situation may have been a lot different.”
Etherton said swimmers should know their limits.
Brinton emphasized that the NIC beaches do not have active lifeguards, and that water safety should be taken seriously. Outdoor Pursuits rents life jackets.
“We don’t want to say that everybody should go running into the water,” Etherton said. Assuming a person has the ability to help and not put themselves in harm’s way, he said, they can greatly improve outcomes.
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