Man who saved drowning East Texas toddler: 'I just didn't give u - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Man who saved drowning East Texas toddler: 'I just didn't give up'

William Ellis (Source: KLTV) William Ellis (Source: KLTV)
Pool where the girl fell in (Source: KLTV) Pool where the girl fell in (Source: KLTV)

A 3-year-old East Texas girl is recovering in the hospital after police say she almost drowned in a pool.

Tyler police say it happened last night at The Residences apartments in the 2300 block of Frankston Highway.

Police say the girl slipped out of an inflatable and sank to the bottom of the pool, but a former paramedic who was there was able to perform CPR and save the girl's life. He spoke with us about the moments he says he will never forget.

William Ellis said he had just seconds to save a girl after she fell in the apartment pool during a pool party.

"I was cutting, doing the watermelon, and that's when I hear a big scream and that was the momma," says Ellis.

Ellis says the three-year-old girl had been at the bottom for about a minute.

"I just automatically jumped into action, and you know jumped in the pool…got her from the bottom of the pool, brought her back up the pool," says Ellis.

In those moments, Ellis says the girl wasn't breathing, and he worked to get the water out.

"Finally, she threw up the water," says Ellis.

“When you’re doing CPR on any drowning victim, you put them on their side…but as you have them on your (their) side, you put your arm on their stomach because their stomach is full of water and you put pressure there, and I know it sounds horrific, but you hit them hard as you can on their back until you get some kind of sign,” says Ellis.

In between CPR and breathing for her, Ellis didn't give up.

"I was hitting her, the last time and she gasped for air… 'thank God,' that's what I said."

"Those rafts, you think they're protecting your child, but really, they're not. What's protecting your child is yourself," says Ellis.

He's not calling himself a hero, just someone who was in the right place, at the right time.

"At least I know now that she's going to be able to grow up have her birthday parties, have homecoming, winter formal," says Ellis.

Now she has a chance to do all of that and more.

Tyler police say life jackets and personal flotation devices are the best route to go if you have toddlers in the pool.

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