August 2007 By Tami LivingstonNEWS EDITOR for the UNF Spinnaker A University of North Florida student pulled an unconscious man from the bottom of the Aquatic Center pool Aug. 13. Thomas Morton was practicing underwater breathing techniques when he blacked out and was brought to the surface by a nearby group of swimmers, according to Heather Kite, assistant director of the Aquatic Center. "This is certainly one of the most severe things that's happened at the Aquatic Center," Kite said. Kite said nothing similar to this incident has happened for almost nine years. "It's really not uncommon, that in the time frame it takes a lifeguard to scan from one side of the pool to the other side, for a patron to be able to recognize something first because they're in the water and they're swimming right next to people," Kite said. "The lifeguard only has x amount of people to watch as they go back and forth." "Certainly those students who were involved [...] did the right thing by alerting the lifeguard's attention and our staff responded and ultimately a life was saved," Kite said. "Fortunately, the time he was underwater before recognition and care was given was so short he didn't have any [issues] and was released from the hospital a day later." Daniel Maxwell, the resident assistant listed by the University Police Department as helping with Morton's rescue, declined to speak to the Spinnaker about the incident. Once alerted, the lifeguards on duty pulled Morton from the water and administered rescue breathing procedures, said Bryan Eichler, Aquatic Center coordinator. Rescue breathing was given because Morton was breathing shallowly; however, CPR was not given because Morton's heart had not stopped. Kite said she believes that Morton was underwater for less than five minutes because of how quickly he recovered once removed from the pool. There are approximately 30 lifeguards employed by the Aquatic Center, and each is certified by the American Red Cross in lifeguard training, first aid, CPR and the use of automated electrical defibrillators. The Aquatic Center also recently received oxygen tanks and has a bag valve resuscitation mask available for emergencies.