HOPATCONG BOROUGH, NJ (Sussex County) – A 7-year-old boy who was found under the water in Lake Hopatcong and saved by CPR was released from the hospital this week.
On July 3 at 4:13 p.m., Nicholas was bringing buckets of water from the lake to the Cresent Cove Beach Club area. A lifeguard was watching the water at the time of the incident. Nicholas swam out to the last buoy which is about 25 feet off shore and then disappeared under the water. Approximately 2 minutes later his mother and others saw that he was missing, police said.
Alex Rodriquez, who is also a Hopatcong Fireman, was swimming in Cresent Cove, found the child under water and brought him onto shore. Andrea Rodriguez, Alex’s wife, and Tom Brown, Hopatcong Volunteer Fireman, began CPR on the boy, police said.
Hopatcong Sgt. Tracey and Ptl Still arrived on scene and were directed by witnesses to the shoreline of the beach club. Andrea Rodriguez stated to the officers that he was under water for an undetermined time and was on her third cycle of chest compressions, police said.
Ptl. Still asked if rescue breaths were conducted and he was told 2 breaths were attempted, but chest rise was not seen. Ptl. Still ordered compressions to be discontinued, dried Nicholas with a towel and applied juvenile pads connected to the AED, police said.
Ptl. Still could not initially ascertain a pulse and noticed Nicholas was blue in the face. The AED advised that a shock was not needed and to begin chest compressions. Ptl. Still took over chest compressions and Sgt. Tracey began to set up the oxygen tank. Nicholas’s face was covered in sand and vomit, police said.
Ptl Still stopped chest compressions after his third cycle and pulled Nicholas into the recovery position. He opened his mouth, began to sweep with his finger into the upper portion of his throat and pulled out 2 clumps of sand and digested food that appeared stuck. He then placed Nicholas onto his back, the AED analyzed his heart beat, and was advised to continue chest compressions. He resumed compressions while Sgt. Tracey provided rescue breaths, police said.
Hopatcong EMS arrived on scene and assisted with care. Sgt. Tracey switched positions with Hopatcong EMS and she maintained rescue breaths while Ptl. Still provided compressions. Nicholas’s pulse returned and was about 90 beats per minute, police said.
The boy’s heart rate remained at 106 beats per minute while in the ambulance. The ambulance was driven to Squire Field as it was prepared for a helicopter landing. Atlantic Air One arrived on scene and was then air lifted to Morristown Memorial Hospital, police said.
On July 7, Nicholas was in pediatric intensive care unit at Goryeab Children’s Hospital. He was currently breathing on his own and is healing nicely. There is zero report of brain injury at this time, police said.
Our team was happy to give a fairy tale ending to what could have been a tragic story. Little Nicholas was given a firetruck Welcome Home as he was released from the hospital on Tuesday. Special thanks to Hawthorne and Haledon Fire Department for the assist, Hopatcong Fire Department said on Wednesday.
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(Photo Source: Hopatcong Fire Department)