NORWALK, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of area teenagers will work as lifeguards this summer season, but only a handful will experience life-saving drama like an incident that unfolded this week in Norwalk.
Sitting in the big lifeguard chair, she looks so little, but size is an imperfect measure of skill and heart.READ MORE: NYPD: 2 Gunman Wanted After 10 Shot Outside Queens Laundromat
Seventeen-year-old Morgan Saunders has plenty of both.
“I knew lifeguarding was a big task, but now I’m like, this is serious. It’s not just, like, watching the water for kids, watching them playing. Serious stuff can happen. You just have to be prepared,” she said.
It was hot Tuesday at Norwalk’s Calf Pasture Beach. The water was crowded with kids, and as Morgan, in her first full year lifeguarding, scanned her section, she spotted a girl in trouble, facedown in the water.
She sounded the alert and ran into the Long Island Sound.
“I realized that she was not breathing, and just to do what I’ve been told and taught and just perform CPR,” Morgan said.
“And then did you give the breath of life, too?” CBS2’s Tony Aiello asked.
“Yeah, it was one, two, three, four and then a breath, and then one, two, three, four and then a breath,” Morgan said.
“So four pumps and then a breath?” Aiello asked.
“Yeah, and I did that four times,” Morgan said.READ MORE: COVID In New York: Mask Mandates Not Being Re-Imposed Just Yet As Concern Grows Over Delta Variant
Supervisor Alex Horelick arrived as Morgan got the girl breathing again.
“It sends a great message. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first year or 22nd year like me. We’re watching this beach and we’re good to go,” he said.
Morgan says in the moment, her training kept her calm.
“After I saved her and she was OK and they took her away, all the adrenaline kicked away, and I was just like, ‘oh my God, I just saved her life,'” she said. “I started crying and everything, but… it was a lot for me to handle.”
“Were those tears of relief or just kind of a release of emotion?” Aiello asked.
“I just never experienced anything like that before, to see someone like that, especially a little girl,” Morgan said.
A little girl who’s recovered and back home thanks to a teen who took her training and her mission seriously.
Morgan is a rising senior at Norwalk High School, where she stars on the swim team.
She says she’s hoping for an uneventful rest of her summer.MORE NEWS: NYPD: 3 Shot In Washington Heights, No Arrests
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on Friday, July 2.