‘I knew how close he was to dying’

 

To many, he's a hero, but ask this father of three of the moment he saved his son's life when he fell into the family pool, and he'll tell you he was just doing what any dad would do.

It was a spring day in Jimboomba when Aaron Melville was forced to perform CPR on his then two-year-old son Omari, after he was pulled unconscious from the gated pool.

"He was unconscious and he was blue, purple," Mr Melville said of the moment he thought his son would die.

"When I grabbed him, his eyes were open and they were rolling back into his head. He was just a limp body.

"When I grabbed him I realised how close he was to dying."

 

Aaron Melville with three-year-old Omari on their Jimboomba property. Picture: Richard Walker
Aaron Melville with three-year-old Omari on their Jimboomba property. Picture: Richard Walker

 

Unbeknown to Mr Melville and the two other adults home when the horror incident unfolded, little Omari had managed to sneak into the pool area along with his two older brothers: five-year-old Alizae, four-year-old Lucious, the boys' two cousins and the kids next door.

"I could hear all the kids screaming out to me, then I realised what had happened," Mr Melville said.

Rendering CPR immediately, Mr Melville said he was acting on instinct.

"In those sorts of situations I guess your body just goes into autopilot and you do what's necessary," he said.

"I was just a dad doing his duty and doing what any dad would do."

 

Aaron Melville says he was running on autopilot when he went into action to save Omari. Picture: Richard Walker
Aaron Melville says he was running on autopilot when he went into action to save Omari. Picture: Richard Walker

 

Mr Melville's wife Tamzen would call triple-0, marking just one of the 472 calls for help the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) last year received in relation to drownings and near-drownings. There have already been more than 28 this year to date.

Mr Melville estimates he performed CPR on his youngest child for about five minutes, before finally, little Omari let out a gasp for air, and started crying.

Queensland Police Service Detective senior sergeant Glen Antonie, from the Logan District Child Protection and Investigation Unit, said Omari was fortunate to have survived such a traumatic incident, but warned the outcome is different in many instances.

"Unfortunately, more often than not, these incidents end in tragedy with children lost, forever affecting the lives of families, friends and first response emergency services," Det Snr Sgnt Antonie said.

"Aaron's story illustrates how fast a child can drown and also reinforces the importance of knowing CPR and having a current CPR sign on display in pool areas."

 

Aaron Melville has warned other parents of the dangers of taking your eyes of children near water. Picture: Richard Walker
Aaron Melville has warned other parents of the dangers of taking your eyes of children near water. Picture: Richard Walker

 

He urged all parents to never take their eyes off kids while swimming, and to regularly inspect pool gates and locks, and remove all climbable objects from around pool fencing.

The QAS also noted that no matter how large or small a body of water is - including just a bucket of water- it can still pose as a drowning risk.

In the hours and days after September 22, 2020, when Omari was rushed to hospital via ambulance to have large amounts of fluid drained from his small body, Mr Melville said he thought over the worst possible scenarios, but mostly reflected on how life can change in an instant.

"It was the blink of an eye and he was getting pulled out of the pool, it happened so quickly," Mr Melville, who was trained in CPR several years ago, said.

Offering advice to other parents, he gave a stern word of warning: "Don't turn your back for a single second. In one second anything can happen, and that's what happened to me and Omari. I'm just glad we still have him here and he's still alive."

 

 

 

 

Originally published as 'I knew how close he was to dying'


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