Good Samaritan pulls girl from community pool

8-year-old girl remains in critical condition after near drowning

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police have identified the 8-year-old girl who remains at Wolfson Children's Hospital after nearly drowning Monday afternoon in a pool in the Johns Creek neighborhood on the Southside.

Police said Linda Pham was playing and jumping in the shallow end of the pool with other children about 2:45 p.m. when a witness heard one of the children say that the girl had thrown up under water. The witness said she saw the girl at the bottom of the pool and pulled her out. When she and a man couldn't find a pulse, they alternated giving her CPR while another woman called 911.

Jessica Winberry, of Wolfson's Players Center for Child Health, said for every minute that goes by without CPR, the chance for survival decreases by 10 percent.

"If you think about just calling 911 alone, if CPR isn't done, that chance of survival can really decrease quickly," Winberry said.

The girl was taken to Mayo Clinic, then transferred to Wolfson, where she was last reported in critical condition.

Another witness told police he overheard the girl say she couldn't swim, but didn't think anything of it because she was with other kids jumping from steps into the water.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office incident report did not say who was supervising the child, but did say officers went to a home in the community to pick up Linda's father and take him to the hospital.

Winberry said supervision is the best preventive to drowning, and she recommends parents take turns wearing a water-watcher tag. [Parents can get their own water-watcher tag by calling 904-202-4302 or by visiting]

"No talking, no texting, no distractions," Winberry said. "They're just actually watching the children in the pool and then they pass it off 15-20 minutes later to another person who takes on that same responsibility."

Safety rules are laid out on the Johns Creek community pool sign. It states children younger than 13 must be under the supervision of an adult.

Detectives investigating the case questioned witnesses and, according to the incident report, were attempting to obtain surveillance video from cameras located at the pool.

Pham's father, who was on his way back to the hospital Tuesday, said he's asking the community to pray for his daughter.

Neighborhood shaken by near drowning

Those in the neighborhood who spoke with Channel 4 on Monday night said they were praying for the girl, who attends nearby Chets Creek Elementary School.

"If you bring your own children to a pool, you should make sure that you have your eyes on them at all times, first," said Tyler Person, who was with his two children at the pool during the incident. "Whether it's in your own backyard or a community pool, you want to make sure your kids are safe."

Channel 4 crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said it's unfair to point a finger at this point, and instead stressed the importance of parents taking an active role and creating dialogue with their children about the dangers that come with swimming.

"In light of incidents like this, this is another conversation that adults and parents have to have with their children to let them know that hey, we want you to have fun, we want you to enjoy the pool, the beach, or whatever, but there are dangers involved and you have to be aware of those dangers and stay away from them if at all possible," Jefferson said.

It's advice Person said he'll adhere to so a similar tragedy doesn't touch his family.

"Just keep your eyes on them. I mean, I'm that way when I'm inside the house and outside. I'm keeping my eyes on them, on my own children."

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