Girl, 4, rescued after arm gets stuck in pool drain

Firefighters work for hour to free girl at Merritt Island apartments


MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – A 4-year-old girl is recovering Monday from an hour-long rescue after her arm got stuck in a drain of a Brevard County apartment complex swimming pool.

Firefighters on Sunday worked to free the girl's arm, which became stuck at an apartment complex off Courtenay Parkway on Merritt Island.

The girl was in 5 feet of water, and witnesses had to support her feet to keep her head above water.  She was also covered in a blanket to keep warm.

While one group of firefighters tried to free her arm, another group began draining the pool.  More than 3 inches of water was drained before firefighters started to make some progress.

Using a string and a large syringe, witnesses said rescuers injected a slippery liquid into the drain and finally dislodged the girl's arm.

The girl was taken to a hospital but was expected to be OK. Officials said she suffered some bruising on her arm.

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Local 6 found that the pool received dozens of safety violations, causing residents to wonder why it was open at all.

"We told the apartment manager that there was this hole that was sucking up toys, his toys went down it," said resident Tamry Smith.

Firefighters said the cap that was supposed to be on the drain, wasn't.

Complex manager Caleb Santiago said his staff found the cap on the bottom of the pool Monday morning. Santiago said none of the pumps were on when the incident happened, so the drain wouldn't have had suction and the cap should have been on.

"Someone using the pool had to go out of their way to unsecure that cap," Santiago said.