One last breath saved Bronte

RESCUE: Glen and Kylie Borg with Bronte after Glen and Peter Southam, right, saved her.  Picture: Jonathan Carroll
RESCUE: Glen and Kylie Borg with Bronte after Glen and Peter Southam, right, saved her. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

HAVING pulled his lifeless daughter  out of the family’s backyard pool, Glen Borg was determined not to give up on her. But hope was fading.

 He had performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for more than a minute, but the two-year-old Bronte felt like “rubber”.

  There was still no response.

Mr Borg recalls a strange feeling coming over him. It prompted him to pinch her nose and push an extra big breath into her airways. Her eyes popped open and she said  “Mummy”.

‘‘That’s when I knew she would be OK and that she didn’t have any brain damage,’’ Mr Borg said.

‘‘I wasn’t going to stop until someone came so we kept doing it and doing it.

‘‘It was one final blow.

‘‘We must have had God or a guardian angel looking over us.’’

Arriving back to their Warnervale home from hospital yesterday, Mr Borg and his wife, Kylie, agreed to share their story in the hope it would highlight the importance of knowing CPR.

Without it, Bronte wouldn’t have survived.

 The family has strict rules in place when it comes to pool safety – but all it took was a moment of distraction for the potential tragedy to unfold on Boxing Day afternoon.

Mr Borg said his neighbour and good friend Peter Southam had come over to help him carry some heavy items because he is scheduled to move house in the coming couple of weeks.

The pair began carrying things out of the backyard and Mr Borg propped open the pool fence to transport an aviary out onto the front lawn.

It was about this time that Bronte and her sister Hannah, 4, asked if they could use the Slip’n’Slide, a long sheet of thin plastic used to slide across when wet.

‘‘I said that was OK and I would come and sit down and watch,’’ Mr Borg said.

When he returned to the backyard he witnessed every parent’s worst nightmare – Bronte was floating lifeless in the pool.

Mr Borg jumped in to get her and called out for Mrs Borg, who was inside, to dial Triple-0.

Then he and Mr Southam worked in tandem to carry out CPR. ‘‘It was a split second and that’s all it takes,’’ Mr Borg said.

‘‘She was floating in the pool with no clothes on – she must have gotten undressed to use the Slip ’n’ Slide.

‘‘Looking at her I thought ‘this is not good’. I’d done first aid a number of years ago and I put air in her while Pete started compression, pushing down on her chest.

‘‘All this gunk started coming out of her.

‘‘We kept going and moved her onto her side to clear her airways before putting more air into her.’’

Mr Borg said that once Bronte’s eyes opened, her colour also came back.

She was airlifted by the CareFlight rescue helicopter to Westmead Children’s Hospital in a stable condition with her mum, and kept overnight for observation.

Mr Borg said he couldn’t thank Mr Southam enough for his crucial role in saving Bronte’s life.

That’s why he is going to become Bronte’s godfather.

‘‘What can you do to repay someone for saving your child’s life?’’ Mr Borg said.

‘‘If I can say anything to parents out there it’s that they shouldn’t give up.’’

He added that he thought the government should concentrate more on encouraging Swimming Pool Alarm systems.

‘‘All it takes is human error,’’ he said.

‘‘If we’d had the alarm we would have been able to run back and get Bronte straight away.’’

This is the fourth pool near-drowning involving a child under the age of four from the Hunter or Central Coast this summer.

On December 13, a three-year-old girl in Aberglasslyn was saved by her quick-thinking mum after going into her family’s pool.

A Buff Point child was also airlifted to hospital after nearly drowning,  and a Belmont two-year-old was pulled unconscious from a pool at a house in Sydney at the start of the month.

It also follows the death this week of 4-year-old Connor Elliott-Graham in the Clarence River at Chatsworth Island, north of Grafton, and 5-year-old Ayman Ksebe at Dolls Point in Botany Bay.

From October 29, swimming pool owners in NSW were required to register their backyard swimming pools online with the state government.

All properties with a pool that are sold or leased from 29 April 2014 must have a pool compliance certificate confirming that the pool’s barrier meets the required safety standards.

The changes were put in place after a recommendation by the NSW Coroner following several child drownings in backyard swimming pools.