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Firefighter from Newbury brought girl back from the brink of death

Hero "acted in the face of fear" to save toddler from drowning on holiday

Chris Ord


01635 886639

Newbury firefighter brought girl back from the brink of death

A FIREFIGHTER from Newbury has been praised for his bravery to “act in the face of fear” after saving the life of a toddler who was pulled unconscious from a Dubai swimming pool.

Oliver Parker was on his honeymoon with his pregnant wife, Heidi, and two young children when the two-year-old was spotted motionless in the pool of the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach.

Her distraught father pulled the girl out of the water and lay her on the side as by-standers looked on in horror. 

It was then Mr Parker’s training as a firefighter kicked in.

“We were leaving the pool area and I just heard a lot of screaming,” said the 33-year-old.

“It was quite obvious she had drowned – it was just horrific.

“She was completely blue and not breathing.

“None of the lifeguards had come over, everyone was just in shock. I just went into complete work mode.”

Mr Parker, who has been a firefighter for 13 years, immediately started CPR at the poolside while instructing those nearby to call an ambulance.

The heroic fireman performed the emergency life-saving procedure for three minutes in a desperate effort to bring the young girl from Finland back from the brink of death.

“When she came around, she came around so quick, it was from nothing,” he recounted.

“She took a deep breath and opened her eyes and all the colour came back to her.

“It was all just so emotional – she’s exactly the same age as one of my daughters.

“Even now it’s hard to describe.

“I’ll never forget how she looked when she came out of the water and I’ll never forget that feeling when she came back.”

The toddler, who her family have asked not to name, was taken by ambulance to hospital where she spent two days before returning to the hotel.

“She came out on our last day there and we were reunited with her and her family,” said Mr Parker.

“They were obviously very emotional.

“When thanking me her mother said I hadn’t just saved her daughter’s life, but I’d saved the whole family’s.”

Watch manager Ian Gibson, who has worked with Mr Parker for four years, praised his colleague’s heroic actions.

He said: “This is something that Olly will live with forever.

“He stepped up when everyone else froze with fear.

“That’s my definition of bravery – action in the face of fear.

“What he did was exceptional and I couldn’t be more proud to have him on my crew and as a friend.”

However, the modest father-of-two, who is stationed at Aldermaston, has played down his actions saying his “training took over”.

He said: “I’ve never had to do anything like this outside of work.

“I’ve never actually had to do CPR on anyone in work.

“I remember feeling very calm despite all the panic around.

“I just did what I’ve been trained to do for the last 13 years.”

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Article comments

  • GreenhamPete

    07/04/2017 - 17:21

    Well done indeed!. Great to have a good news story headlining the NWN. The sun's shining, it's warm, the weekend's arrived, the world looks good in our little Newbury microcosm.