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Holiday-making Dewsbury firefighter saves life of drowning three-year-old

The Sun Connect complex in Hisonaru, Turkey.
The Sun Connect complex in Hisonaru, Turkey.

A firefighter from Dewsbury has described how he feared the worst whilst saving the life of a toddler who got into difficulty at a swimming pool on holiday.

Stefan Taylor was on a break in Turkey with his young family when he was alerted to a three-year-old boy who had been submerged for nearly four minutes.

Springing into action, the 34-year-old began performing CPR whilst a fellow holiday-maker, incredibly also a fire fighter, performed mouth-to-mouth.

“When he was pulled out of the water he was gone,” he said, “His eyes were open, he was blue, there was no sign of life. We performed on him for two and a half minutes and got nothing back from him. Everyone around us was shouting and screaming, his mother was beside herself.

“We carried on for several seconds and felt a movement, some colour came into his face and all of a sudden he started coughing and crying.

“I’ve never felt anything like it, it was a tremendous feeling of just pure relief.

“I’ve saved people before in my job but not like that. I was in holiday mode with no equipment, it was a totally different experience.

“I’m an atheist and I always have been, but I found myself praying to God, which was unusual. I felt like I was trying to save the life of my own child.”

Seconds after the child responded, paramedics arrived to rush him to hospital. He has fully recovered, but had he spent any more time underwater, Stefan said, it could have been a tragedy.

“Once you get to four minutes or more you begin to suffer brain damage,” he said, “everything was very surreal, that we got to him just in time as well.

“The whole thing felt like time had slowed down and everyone around the pool was hysterical as you can imagine. I’m just glad we were able to help him.”

David Williams, secretary of the West Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union, said that whilst incredible, the story was typical of Dewsbury-stationed Stefan and the firefighting service as a whole.

He said: “From our point of view, it’s indicative of firefighters everywhere. They’re brilliantly trained and the fact is that you never fully switch off, even on holiday.

“We’re here to make a difference and when we get the opportunity to do so, we do.

“It’s no surprise to hear that Stefan behaved in the way that he did. He’s that type of bloke - really dogged and determined in everything that he does and an absolute credit to the fire service.”