Authorities in Palo Alto are investigating a near-drowning incident after an 89-year-old woman was found in a pool at an Alma Street condominium complex on Wednesday morning, June 24.
Staff at the complex, at 101 Alma St., called emergency dispatchers at about 7:55 a.m. after a maintenance worker saw a body in a swimming pool. A bystander performed CPR on the woman until first responders took over. The unconscious woman still had a pulse and blood pressure, Palo Alto Fire Department Acting Battalion Chief William Dale said.
The woman was transported to a hospital, and her condition is currently unknown, he said.
The near-drowning incident is the third since June 1 and the second in a week, Dale said. A previous incident involving an 18-year-old male occurred on June 1 in a pool at Stanford University's Arrillaga Outdoor Sports and Recreation Center, and a June 17 incident involving a 17-year-old male occurred at the Palo Alto Country Club, located at 3000 Alexis Drive.
Paramedics performed CPR on the two youth, who were transported to hospitals. The victim in the Stanford incident required time in the intensive care unit, but both had good outcomes, Dale said.
The recent accidents are grim reminders of the danger that water can pose, he said. In Santa Clara County as elsewhere, paramedics respond to numerous near-drowning and drowning calls each summer, Dale said. The recent spate, coming so close together, is unusual, said Dale, who has been a paramedic for 27 years.
"Common sense says don't swim alone, but that's never going to happen," he said.
Instead, there are some general rules that can help avoid drowning.
"Don't drink (alcohol), and don't swim on a full stomach, and don't be on any crazy medications," Dale said. "Don't push your limits. If you haven't been swimming in the past 15 years and try to swim laps across the pool, you can find yourself exhausted and in deep water."
People should not swim alone if they are elderly or young, Dale said.
"You never know when a medical emergency might strike," he added.
The youth were doing recreational swimming as opposed to training or lap swimming, Dale said.
While lifeguards do a good job of spotting incidents on a hot summer day when the pool is crowded, it's hard to keep an eye on everybody, Dale said, so he reminds pool bystanders to always have their eyes on the water.
In the Stanford incident, a coach pulled the 18-year-old out of the pool and performed CPR. Bystanders assisted the 17-year-old in the country club incident, Dale said.
The condominium complex did not have a lifeguard, but that is not unusual, Dale said. He has never seen a lifeguard at private pools except in private/public venues. The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center on Fabian Way in Palo Alto does have lifeguards, but it offers many swim classes and is open to children, Dale said.