CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. - An amazing rescue! An off duty police officer on vacation and a hotel manager are being called heroes for saving a 2-year-old boy’s life.
Sheraton Sand Key Hotel Manager Vince Tropea will never forget Sunday’s terrifying call: a child was face down in the hotel’s pool.
“When you get to be 50 you don’t sprint too fast, but I sprinted as fast as I could,” Tropea exclaimed.
He rushed to the hotel's pool to find a 2-year-old boy lifeless on the pool deck near the deep end. “The boy was blue. His eyes were rolled back in his head. He was unresponsive,” Tropea added.
A New Jersey police officer on vacation at the Sheraton Sand Key had already started CPR when Tropea rushed in and took over. Another woman had pulled the two year old from the pool.
Tropea, who has a 5 year old son, did compression after compression for 3 long minutes until he heard the sweetest sound: A gasp.
Overcome by emotion, Tropea couldn’t believe it. “I was more relieved than anything, I think.”
Brian Ruppert, a hotel guest at the Sheraton Sand Key was amazed to hear about the rescue. “It’s absolutely amazing. It really truly is. To be able to keep your head in a situation like that is difficult.”
Tropea and the other managers at Sheraton Sand Key had just gotten re-certified for CPR less than 2 months ago!
Ruppert said with a smile, “Everybody can look back at this and say somebody was at the right place at the right time and did the right thing. That’s pretty neat in today’s world!”
The little boy’s mother tells us her son is already out of the hospital and back to his happy self.
Jennifer Wright, marketing manager at the hotel was glad to hear it, “As a mother I couldn’t imagine, we are just so grateful.”
As for the heroes, Tropea and Sergeant Sean O’Hare, both say they were simply doing what’s right. “Being a resort manager for as many years as I have, we see lots of things. I'd never seen something quite like that. I'm just so glad we were all there and ready to help,” Tropea added.
Sgt. O'Hare of the Morris Township Police Department told officers in Clearwater he has done CPR many times during his career on both children and adults. "I didn't think it was going to be good when I first saw him," he said. "I am not sure how long he was under, but I'm sure it was for a good couple of minutes." Sgt. O'Hare added whether patrolling the streets back home or lounging poolside while allegedly being on vacation... "That's the reason you take the job," he explained, "To help people."