Parents Speaking Out After Near Drowning at Water Park
Thief River Falls, MN (Valley News Live) A near drowning at a water park has parents speaking up about how the situation was handled by those hired to keep kids safe.
Seven year old Penny Gilbertson nearly drowned at the Seven Clans Casino, Hotel, and Water Park in Thief River Falls, but was pulled from the pool just in time.
"I had went over and seen her lying there and she was blue. I am not really sure if she was responsive at the time they were doing CPR," Penny's father Dusty Gilbertson said.
Quick reaction from a nurse there saved her life.
"I jumped in the pool and swam over to her, and turned her over, and she was blue and not breathing. I just took over and I told someone to call 9-1-1, told another person to give her breaths while I started the compression," Nicole Johnson said.
Johnson and others performed CPR on Penny for a minute before she started breathing. She was airlifted to a hospital in Fargo, where she is expected to make a full recovery.
"I am just very thankful that Nicole Johnson found her and pulled her out, otherwise I don't think Penny would be here," Gilbertson said.
But it was how lifeguards working at the water park that has sparked heated conversations on how they handled Penny's life.
"They helped pull her out and as soon as she was out of the water, the lifeguards backed up about 15, 20 feet and they had nothing to do with it. It was just these two ladies that were working on her," Andrea Devos said.
Others who go to the water park frequently say this is not the first time they've watched a near tragedy transpire at Seven Clans.
"We've seen good lifeguards that call kids out but more often than not they are not attentive," Devos said.
We first spoke to Seven Clans Casino yesterday, but other than an employee confirming the incident with a few details, they declined to give further comment today.