Two young brothers were honored by the Southampton Village Board and praised by local emergency personnel Thursday night for keeping their heads in a crisis situation and ultimately saving a life.
Through their quick responses, with no regard for their own safety, 11-year-old Jonathan Otto-Bernstein and 13-year-old Nicholas Otto-Bernstein saved their babysitter from drowning after she had a seizure while swimming in a pool in their Halsey Neck Lane backyard on Sunday.
While Nicholas called 911 and gave the dispatcher vital information, Jonathan stayed in the deep end of the pool with the victim to keep her head above water — and cleared blood and water from her lungs with chest compressions.
Nicholas ran to the end of the driveway to provide firefighters with the gate code to get in, and led them to the pool.
When the victim regained consciuosness, she became frightened by the firefighters' presense and tried to flee further into the deep end, 1st Lt. Alfred Callahan, who responded to the near drowning, said in a statement.
In her panic, she pushed Jonathan underwater several times.
However, Callahan said, Jonathan returned to her side each time to prevent her from drowning.
With the assistance of Chief Rick Fowler and Southampton Fire Department Capt. Chris Brenner, "after several minutes we were able to bring the victim out of the pool to receive the medical attention she required," Callahan said.
"The actions of Nicholas Otto-Bernstein and Jonathan Otto-Bernstein, in the opinion of this officer, were heroic," Callahan said, "Their extremely mature ability to remain calm under extreme pressure resulted in the safety of the victim."
Mayor Mark Epley presented the boys with proclamations Thursday, and more volunteer responders sang the praises of Jonathan and Nicholas.
“You don’t come across that every day,” Fowler said. “You kept cool.”
“It's really touching to know that the kids in the community are doing as well as they are,” Southampton Fire Department 2nd Assistant Chief Mike Kampf said.
Jonathan returned the kind words of the volunteers and police, who pride themselves on their response times. “I was especially impressed how fast they came,” he said.
“I’m proud to have met you,” Epley told the boys, urging them to consider joining the ranks of the local volunteers someday.