FAIRFIELD, NJ — A near-fatal drowning of a 9-year-old boy was averted on Thursday thanks to the quick actions of a hotel guest at the LaQuinta hotel, according to Fairfield Chief of Police Anthony Manna.
At approximately 6:37 p.m. on March 2, all available police units were dispatched to the pool area of the hotel, located at 38 Two Bridges Road, on a report of a 9-year-old boy who had been underwater in the pool.
The boy was out of the water when the officers arrived and CPR had been undertaken, according to police. The officers observed that the victim had a pulse and was breathing on his own.
Oxygen was administered and the boy’s condition was monitored until he was transported to St. Joseph’s Medical Center by the West Essex First Aid Squad.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a mother and her five children ranging in age from 1-9 years old were all in the pool with a male companion of the mother. All are from Paterson and none of them knew how to swim, according to police.
Police said it appeared that the 9-year-old boy began to struggle and eventually ended up under the water in the deeper end of the pool while the adults were focusing their attention on the younger children.
The male companion then ran to the front desk to get assistance. At that time, police said Randolph Tajada-Perez, a 37-year-old man from Hazelton, PA., was checking into the hotel and immediately responded to the pool area.
According to police, Tajada-Perez, who himself does not know how to swim, jumped into the pool, and after a few attempts was able to go under water and remove the child from the pool.
“Anyone who has a fear of water and is not comfortable swimming can truly appreciate the bravery displayed by this hero guest, who conquered his own fears to save the young life of another,” said Manna. “All of us at the police department are extremely proud of him.”
As of 8:30 a.m. on Friday, the child was listed in stable condition, according to police.