Off-duty firefighter rescues child from drowning at Mississippi hotel

Published 10:06 pm Saturday, June 10, 2023

A 4-year-old Natchez child is in a Jackson hospital after she nearly drowned in the swimming pool at Magnolia Bluffs Casino Hotel, said commander Jerry Ford of Natchez Police Department.

Ford said the heroics of an off-duty firefighter from out of town may have saved the child’s life.

The child went swimming with a friend of her mother’s at the hotel at approximately 4 p.m. Saturday when she jumped into the deeper end of the pool and didn’t resurface, Ford said.

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“They’re saying she was in the water between one and three minutes,” Ford said. “An off-duty firefighter from another town was at the pool and jumped in after her and did CPR.”

Ford later said the firefighter was Haley Benjamin O’Neil of Slaughter, Louisiana.

The child regained consciousness and was transported by ambulance to Merit Health and then transported to Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson.

“They sent her there as a precaution. (Doctors) are concerned about potential brain swelling because of how long she was in the water,” Ford said. “They’re saying he (O’Neil) did a wonderful job of resuscitating the baby.”