Hawaii Soldier saves woman from drowning
June 4, 2009
HONOLULU, Hawaii (June 2, 2009)- "She looked dead, to be honest. She was turning blue and I couldn\'t find a pulse."
Friday, May 29, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ian Stewart was eating breakfast in the Plaza Hotel restaurant, near Honolulu International Airport, after completing physical training with his unit, the 544th Transportation Detachment at Hickam Air Force Base. Stewart arrived in Hawaii two weeks earlier from a yearlong deployment to Kuwait.
"I was sitting there eating, and a woman came running in to the lobby, yelling that someone was drowning in the hotel pool," said Stewart, a native of Quakertown, Pa.
A 25-year-old woman went for a morning swim, got fatigued and apparently panicked, according to Honolulu Fire Department Public Information Officer Capt. Terry Seelig.
"(When Stewart arrived at the pool,) she was curled up in the fetal position at the bottom of the pool," Seelig said.
Stewart and other guests ran out to the pool but no one took immediate action. Stewart kicked off his boots and removed his Army Combat Uniform top and dove in. He pulled her lifeless body to the surface, and with the help of another guest, got her body up on the pool deck. Stewart checked for any sign of life but couldn't find a pulse and the woman wasn't breathing.
"We turned her on her side, hoping that she would cough up some water and start breathing, but she didn't," Stewart said. "So I gave her a few rescue breaths and turned her on her side and she coughed up a bunch of water, and then started hyperventilating."
Stewart added that after a few minutes of hyperventilating, the woman took a deep breath and was lucid, talking, and alert.
"When she came to, she said 'thank you so much,' and said she felt OK. It's a great feeling to help someone in distress and to get such a positive outcome."
"(Stewart's) heroic and lifesaving efforts saved her life," Seelig said. "It was a noble deed for him to jump in the pool and to put himself at risk."
Stewart, 30, credits his quick actions to Army training and his military occupational specialty (MOS).
"Working on a logistics support vessel puts me in a very water-oriented MOS," he said. "We do drownproofing all the time and spend a lot of time in or near the water and I'm a good swimmer, so when I saw her lying on the bottom of the pool, instinct kicked in."
Seelig added that there would be a thorough investigation into the details of the incident, and hopes Stewart is recognized for his actions. Stewart, a Marine Deck Officer who has been in the Army for seven years, said that any sort of recognition would be an honor.
"It would be pretty cool (to be recognized)," he added. "I would tell anyone that if you are capable to help someone in need, you must do it. Listen during those Friday safety briefings and swim with a buddy. If you see people in trouble, it's your responsibility to help them."