TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - An 8 year old girl, who nearly drowned during a family celebration, is back home and doing OK.
A powerful silent hazard lurked in Norman Weathers' backyard pool -- just one foot below the water line. "When I took the (automatic pool cleaner) hose off the suction right there, I didn't think it would create a safety issue," he said.
The little girl swam under water to the side of the pool and in an instant her long hair was sucked in. Alert adults quickly jumped into the pool to get her out. "They couldn't pull her out because of the suction. It had a hold of her hair -- pulling her in." He said all of her hair had been sucked into the vacuum port. "It had her head flush against the valve -- the opening there," he said.
Weathers said he had no idea the suction is so strong. While Weather's wife ran into the house to grab scissors to cut the girl's hair, he ran to shut off the pool pump -- instantly releasing the girl's hair -- so she could be pulled out of the pool. "She was gasping and coughing and she was throwing up. But she was able to breathe and that's the important part. We knew she was out of danger," he said.
Weathers says he didn't realize the spring loaded valve to stop the suction had broken off.
He said, "By this getting out there, I hope some people don't make the same mistake."
Pool experts told 9OYS that it's important that owners examine all suction points in the pool to make sure they're safe.
The owner of E-Konomy Pool Services in Tucson said his workers will go out to examine pool parts if owners are concerned they are potentially hazardous.