Hero boys, 7, save girl’s life after her hair gets trapped at bottom of pool

Two heroic young lads saved the life of a 10-year-old girl minutes away from drowning after her hair got trapped at the bottom of a swimming pool.

Best friends Nikau Carmichael and Arlo Pimlott, both aged seven, were swimming in Whakatāne, New Zealand, and playing in the deep end of the outdoor pool before horror struck.

They had been putting their faces up against a grate that was sucking in water when a young girl approached them wanting to play.

The girl's older sister asked if she could give it a go and swam underwater to the grate.

At first, the brave young men were impressed with her ability to hold her breath – but then they saw her attempting to push herself away from the grate, desperately wanting to free her hair.

Nikau told the NZ Herald : "She was trying really hard to get to the surface. We saw all the bubbles come out of her mouth and then she fainted and went all floaty. I sent Arlo to get a lifeguard and kept trying to pull her hair out of the grate.

"We tried to pull her up to the surface, but her hair was stuck in the suction grate. We tried really hard to pull her hair out of it.

"I got my hand inside the centre of the grate to try to untangle her hair and pull it out, my hand was really red, but it wasn't bleeding."

When the lifeguards arrived, they couldn't get the girl's hair out without a knife to cut her free.

After getting her to the surface, they carried out CPR and resuscitated her before taking her to Whakatāne Hospital, where she spent a week.

"Arlo's dad rang to see how I was later that evening and to tell me we saved this girl's life," Nikau added.

"He said we were heroes. He said he was proud of us and we did the right thing."

Whakatāne District Council's aquatics and recreation manager, Andrew Smith, said in a statement it was an unfortunate event that was under review.

"The grate, which covers a tube to the balancing tank, meets industry standards and is what you would find in aquatic centre swimming pools throughout New Zealand," he told the NZ Herald.

"The council has since commissioned an independent review of the incident to ensure that an event like this cannot happen again. The tube has been temporarily closed until the review is complete and a suitable solution is identified."

WorkSafe, the country's health and safety regulator, will not be investigating the incident.

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