Goshen toddler critical after falling into pond

FRESNO, Calif.

Hospital officials tell us Angel Arreola is still in critical condition, neighbors say the boy's 2nd birthday is Wednesday. Monday his brother took him to a fire station in Goshen after he found him floating in a neighbor's small pond.

A neighbor drained this small pond in front of her house after Angel Arreola was found in it, not breathing just after 5:00 p.m. Monday. She says the child and his family live across the street and their children often play outside in each other's yards. It's unclear if the mother was supervising the toddler at the time of the incident.

Neighbors didn't want to talk on camera but say Arreola's mother and brothers are in Madera praying for his recovery at Children's Hospital.

Tulare County fire officials say the toddler's teenage brother found him in the pond and rushed him to a nearby clinic. It was closed so he brought him to the fire station in Goshen.

Jonathon Kutka with the Tulare County Fire Department said, "Basically it was a 2-year-old little boy who drowned in the local area just south of where we're standing right now I had personnel on scene and we just went straight in and performed CPR."

Firefighters weren't able to revive him. It's unclear how long he had been not breathing. The toddler was eventually revived at Kaweah Delta Medical Center and later airlifted to children's hospital in Madera.

While family members pray for a miracle recovery, health officials at Kaweah Delta Healthcare District say they've seen more drownings in the Visalia area this year when compared to this time last year.

Amber Myers said, "We've already seen five since April so we've really seen an increase in the number of drownings this year."

Last year Kaweah Delta responded to 15 drownings, half of which were children under 12 years old. Officials say there are many steps parents can take to prevent drowning, like supervising your children at all times. Swimming lessons as young as 6-months-old can also help.

Myers said, "One of the things that swim lessons does is it helps reduce the anxiety in the child so if they ever have to fall into water they will know how to breath and the anxiety won't cause them to go under as rapidly."

Firefighters say it can take just a couple inches of water for a small child to drown.

Kaweah Delta will be handing out child-size life jackets and giving out water safety information at an event in Exeter next month.

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