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Willamalane lifeguards rescue elderly man from pool

The Eugene man reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest while swimming laps.

Posted: Aug. 9, 2018 2:39 PM
Updated: Aug. 9, 2018 3:24 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Two Willamalane Park and Recreation District lifeguards took fast action Thursday morning to save an elderly Eugene man who suffered a cardiac arrest while swimming laps in the pool.

The Springfield Police Department said that lifeguard Jared Knighten, 18, was reportedly monitoring the 73-year-old man at the swim center when he observed a change and believed he was in distress.

Knighten asked for help from Eleanna Soto, 18, another lifeguard, and they pulled the man from the shallow end.

Knighten and Soto were assisted by a third Willamalane employee, Paul Schnoor, 46. They performed CPR and called 911 sometime before 9 a.m.

Police arrived and assisted with performing CPR. The elderly man had begun to respond to the life-saving efforts of the lifeguards by the time EMS personnel arrived. 

The man, whose wife accompanied him to the swim center, was transported to Riverbend Hospital.

“I am extremely proud of the heroic actions of the Willamalane staff,” said Michael Wargo, superintendent of Willamalane. “Our aquatics team goes through extensive training and today that training paid off. This, coupled with the efforts of our police, fire, and EMS personnel, made a huge difference and had a positive outcome.”

Knighten is a graduate of Thurston High School, and Soto recently graduated from Springfield High School.

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