Drowning toddler saved by 11-year-old sister and uncle with assist from 911 dispatcher

TEWKSBURY, Mass. — There was a frantic 911 call from a home in Tewksbury Tuesday morning when a family found their 2-year-old boy floating lifeless in the pool.

“It happens in a second, it’s always somebody else, but you know it happened here,” said Rob Hamilton.

Hamilton said his nephew opened the back door, walked onto the deck and must have fallen in the water for the few seconds they weren’t looking. His 11-year-old niece was the one who found her little brother in the water and pulled him out.

“I went to the side of the pool, and I pulled him out of the water, and I wasn’t even checking if he was breathing yet, I just ran and screamed for my mom,” said Ava Jones, the victim’s sister.

“She was unbelievable, she reached right over picked him up with some super strength or something,” Hamilton said.

That’s when Hamilton performed CPR with the guidance of the 911 dispatcher over the phone. After about three minutes, the baby boy started breathing again.

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Rebecca Maccaro was the dispatcher helping the family over the phone.

“I just got recertified, so that’s what worked, and I heard the baby cry, and it was very emotional for the entire room,” Maccaro said.

Her supervisor said the EMTs were delayed getting to the home when the address didn’t come up right away.

“Our role is just as critical as theirs to make sure that we provide the citizens who call some reassurance that they’re getting some help ahead of time before those critical minutes go by,” said Kevin Lessard, executive director for the Northern Middlesex Regional Emergency Communications Center.

Those minutes were a matter of life or death, so that family is beyond thankful for the support of that dispatcher before EMTs arrived. Maccaro said she was just doing her job.

“It’s not for, you know, being a hero or glory, it’s because I know today this child is going to be okay that’s all it is is just helping people,” Maccaro said.

The toddler was taken to a local hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.