Student indicated he did not remember much about the incidentA Warrenton teenager rescued after nearly drowning last month has been released from hospital care.

Ming Ni, 15, appears to be recovering steadily and may be back in school later this week, friends said Monday.

Ni initially had been listed in critical condition at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland where he was brought from Seaside. He was discharged from the hospital to his family Wednesday afternoon, a Legacy spokeswoman confirmed.

He had been pulled from the bottom of Sunset Pool Feb. 20 and brought to the side by two swimmers from Warrenton High School, and was resuscitated through the combined efforts of other emergency responders including lifeguards Sharon Visser and Chris Ford at the pool and crews with the Seaside Fire Department and Medix ambulance. He was treated at Providence Seaside Hospital and taken the same afternoon to Legacy, where he stayed 13 days until his health had improved sufficiently for him to continue recovering at home.

Ni has indicated he did not remember much about what had happened, but last week he was walking and appeared to be well on the way to recovery, friends said.

What precipitated the incident was not immediately clear, according to Sunset Pool officials.

A physical education class from Warrenton High had been at the indoor pool for 10 or 15 minutes on Feb. 20, swimming and using the rope swing.

"I saw him five minutes earlier and he was fine," said David Dyer, 14, a fellow freshman with Ni. Dyer said at one point when he was swimming he turned and saw something at the bottom of the pool.

"I swam down, saw it was him and grabbed his arm and pulled him up," he said.

Another student and friend of Ni, 18-year-old senior David Stevens, rushed to his aid by helping to bring him from the water to the deck. "I pulled him to the side of the pool ... and lifted him out."

The role of the two young swimmers as first responders in taking immediate action undoubtedly played a key part in saving Ni's life, said Mary Blake, general manager of the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District. "That is an element that cannot be over-emphasized."

She said she was relieved to learn from family members about what appeared to be a good prognosis for Ni - even while he was still at the hospital. "With all indications, there is no permanent damage, and he's doing very well," she said.

Blake saluted the attention of school officials not only to Ni and his family but also to all of the students who had been at the pool.

"The emotional side in this charged story has been driven from heart to heart and with a lot of compassion and a lot of care, and those things can't be scripted," she said.

She added that the recreation district continues to recognize "the extraordinary responses of the two swimmers, the group as a whole, the lifesaving skills of our staff and the medics, the hospitals ... everybody."

Dyer said at the time of the incident he did not think about what action to take, but in hindsight he speculated that swimming lessons as a young boy and seeing movies and television shows about lifeguards may have contributed to a kind of instinctive sense of what to do. For him, the worry and shock of the experience did not seem to set in fully until the next day, he said.

He is not afraid of swimming, he said, but for the rest of his life swimming pools will always remind him of the experience that at an early age has taught him an important and difficult lesson.

"We should always be careful," he said. "And we shouldn't take people's lives for granted."


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