- (Photo: Screenshot via ABC 7)
A California mother says the police officer who saved her drowning 4-year-old daughter from death is an "angel of God."
Sara Villasenor of Costa Mesa, Calif., was reportedly watching her 4-year-old daughter Nina and her 6-year-old son Rikki swim in their grandfather's pool when she hopped inside to quickly use the restroom. When Sara was away from the pool, Nina apparently slipped out of her arm floaties and began drowning and sinking toward the bottom of the pool. Sara and her father then heard Nikki screaming from outside after Nina slipped underwater.
Sara was able to retrieve her daughter, who was not breathing and had turned blue, from the pool before she frantically dialed 911. The first responder to arrive on the scene was Police Officer Matt Olin, who performed CPR on the child and quickly got her breathing again.
"He is an angel from God," Sara said. "He was at the right place at the right time."
"I just knew that God was there and she wasn't going to go anywhere," Sara said. "When he got that first breath going, it was such a huge sigh of relief."
Sarah added to the local CBS Los Angeles station that she began praying to God as Olin began performing CPR on the child. "Please God, do not take her. Do not take her," she said over and over. "If that wasn't God working," Sara continued, "I don't know what was."
Olin tells CBS that his first move was to evacuate water from the child's lungs and stimulate her body by delivering blows to her back. "I put her on her side and started giving her back blows," says Olin. "I tried to stimulate her and get some of that water out of her lungs."
Finally, the 4-year-old began to breathe after about a minute of resucitation exercises. ""There you go. There you go. There you go. Just started, just got her started to breathing," Olin is heard saying on the audio recording he carries with him.
Sara tells local media outlets that she is now sharing her story to spread awareness for child safety in pools, especially during the hot months of summer. ABC News 7 reports that unintentional drowning deaths for children 4-years-old and under happen about 400 times per year, mostly in backyard swimming pools.
"If you are not within an arm's reach, take them out. Be that paranoid, crazy mom, dad, whatever you have to do," Sara advised parents.