Abu Dhabi security guard saves teen who fell unconscious in swimming pool

Purna Bahadur Gurung performed crucial CPR to resuscitate Jaber Abu Zarqa, 13

Purna Bahadur Gurung said he was 'glad I was there and could help' after saving a 13-year-old boy's life, Photo: Purna Bahadur Gurung
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A security guard in Abu Dhabi has been hailed a hero after diving to the rescue of a teenage boy who lost consciousness in a community swimming pool.

Purna Bahadur Gurung, 27, pulled Jaber Abu Zarqa out of the water before performing crucial CPR at the scene to resuscitate him, after discovering he had no pulse.

The Nepalese worker raced to the aid of the stricken 13 year old after the alarm was raised by the boy's friends who were with him at the time.

Emergency services were swiftly alerted, with an ambulance arriving minutes later to transport Jaber to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, where he remained for nearly a week.

Mr Gurung has worked at the compound for only a month has had no CPR training.

"I had never done CPR before but had seen it done in films and on YouTube," he said. "I knew I had to act quickly because there was no pulse. I started doing chest compressions and mouth to mouth until the boy started coughing and vomited.

"I don't think you can ever expect anything like this to happen. I am glad I was there and could help."

Jaber's mother expressed her gratitude to Mr Gurung for his life-saving intervention.

When doctors treated Jaber they had found he had a previously undiagnosed heart defect which required surgery.

Mother thanks lifesaver

The incident took place on Saturday, September 30 and Jaber was released from hospital on Friday, October 6.

"I am indebted to the security guard for saving my son's life, I can't imagine what would have happened if he wasn't there," said Jaber's mother, who asked not to be named.

"I think ultimately something positive came out of this. If he hadn't [nearly] drowned, we would never have discovered that he needed heart surgery."

The incident at the pool, which serves a residential compound, took place about 10pm when no lifeguard was on duty.

His mother explained of the night of the incident: "I just got a call from my other son who said that his brother had drowned.

"I told him to stop joking and that it wasn't funny. I only realised it was serious when his friend's mother took the phone and told me to be strong and that Jaber was taken to the hospital."

Jaber's mother, from Palestine, said the incident was not a result of his heart condition.

"He was playing with his friends for too long in the pool and had eaten a heavy meal before he went in for the second time in the span for a few hours," she said.

"It is difficult to describe how I felt when I got the call. I couldn't feel my legs or my body. I don't know how I made it to the hospital."

Although the community pool has a lifeguard on duty for much of the day, it is not supervised during the late evening, in line with many beaches and hotel swimming pools.

A sign is in place at the pool urging the public not to enter during these unsupervised hours.

Authorities regularly warn of the dangers of swimming while unattended, particularly for younger children.

Updated: October 09, 2023, 2:18 PM