Lifeguard gives advice on how to spot someone struggling to swim - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Lifeguard gives advice on how to spot someone struggling to swim


ALBANY, N.Y. -- In the last month more than half a dozen people have been involved in drowning's or near drowning's in the Capital Region, and lifeguards say being aware of the danger that lurks just below the surface of the water can be lifesaving.

A day at the beach turned chaotic for Cheryl Hardcastle when she saw a child disappear from sight.

"A raft actually floated over the top of one of the smaller kids," she said.

But over 20 years of lifeguard training kicked in, and she pulled the child out from under the raft, taking the child to safety.

Hardcastle tells NEWS10 that parents need to pay attention to their children, because trouble can start quickly – less than the amount of time it takes to run inside an answer the phone.

She explained that kids will usually struggle for 20 to 60 seconds before submerging, but Hardcastle says noticing someone is drowning can be tough for the untrained eye.

"It's not like it is on TV when you see the people flailing all over the place," she said. "A lot of times when people are in trouble, people don't call out for help."

Hardcastle says someone struggling to swim will be swimming in a ventricle position -- arms extended to the side and pushing down.

"And their face is usually just at the surface or just below the surface, they're struggling to breathe," she said.

That's why she said supervision is key to preventing a tragedy. Hardcastle says since she's been with the Glenville YMCA they have not had drowning incidents.  She credits the good record with paying close attention to swimmers as well as teaching kids how to swim.

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