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CPR Class Pays Off for Rescuers, Toddler Pulled From Pool


ANAHEIM — Fate and quick action helped save the life of a 2-year-old toddler who fell into a backyard swimming pool Sunday and was resuscitated by two neighbors, including a 12-year-old who had recently taken a CPR course to enhance her baby-sitting skills.

"If it wasn't for our neighbor John, he would have drowned," said Cindy Villareal, whose nephew, Ralph "R.J." Rangel, had been found by neighbor John Voeltz floating face down in the deep end of the family swimming pool about 6:30 p.m.

At the time, the family was getting ready to leave the house. The boy's mother had taken the toddler's 3-year-old sister to the bathroom and didn't notice that he had gone outside.

The dramatic rescue that followed involved Voeltz and his girlfriend's sister, Katrina Attaman, a 12-year-old seventh-grader, who had recently taken a CPR course for infants and toddlers to enhance her baby-sitting skills.

"I was underneath my car working on it," Voeltz said, "and all of the sudden Wendy, the mom, came running out of her house yelling, 'My kid! My kid jumped in the pool! Help!' "

Voeltz answered her call, running through the house next door into the backyard. He saw the boy floating face down in about eight feet of water with only a diaper on.

Voeltz dived in fully clothed to pull the boy out of the water, then handed him to Katrina, who had just raced to the pool's edge.

"[The boy] was dark-colored at this time," Voeltz said, recalling the rescue. "His whole body was blue and he was just limp. I handed him to Katrina, She had just taken a CPR class. I had taken one a long time ago but I didn't remember it. She did."

Immediately the girl, nervous and admittedly frightened, started applying CPR. When she got nervous, she said, Voeltz gave her words of encouragement.

"I was frightened," Katrina said. "My mind blanked for a minute, and John kept telling me to concentrate and I did and it came back to me. I remembered and I started to do CPR."

Katrina, who attends Bernardo Yorba Middle School, said the toddler was still blue and his stomach hard, apparently from swallowing water. After five to seven tense minutes, the boy cried, then opened his eyes and closed them again. It was the first sign of life, and prompted his two rescuers to smile at one another.

There was an enclosure around the pool, Voeltz said. It was unclear how the toddler gained access to the water.

Anaheim Police Sgt. Russell Stutter said that when police arrived at the home in the 7500 block of East Woodsboro Avenue, they didn't wait for paramedics to arrive but instead rushed the boy and his mother to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Anaheim in a patrol car.

"We heard that when we arrived, the boy was already breathing, thanks to a neighbor," Stutter said.

Later at the hospital, Voeltz visited the boy and they hugged.

"He started talking to me, and said, 'Hey, John.' He's always in the frontyard and I'm always [playing] with him," Voeltz said.

After they gave each other high-fives, Voeltz said, he again hugged the boy and his mother and left.

Ralph Rangel was kept in the hospital overnight for observation, relatives said.

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