An 11-year-old boy is being hailed a "hero" after he helped pull his drowning classmate from a Southern California water park pool during a school trip.
Blake Munoz was on a field trip at the popular Wave Waterpark in Vista with the rest of his fifth grade class from McAuliffe Elementary School.
Munoz - a swimmer on the Oceanside Swim Team - said the class was having fun by the water when he noticed lifeguards staring into the park’s main pool. That's when he saw one of his fellow schoolmates at the bottom of the pool.
“He was laying down, kind of in a ball,” Munoz recalled Tuesday, during an interview with NBC 7.
Munoz swam to the area and found the student motionless under six feet of water.
“I thought he was holding his breath, kind of messing around,” said Munoz. “So I tapped him, nothing. I'm like 'oh man.'"
Munoz said he dove under, wrapped his arms around the boy and brought his head above the water. He towed the classmate's body across the pool until lifeguards took over.
Ryder McMahan said he was amazed at what his friend did.
“A lot of kids were saying 'You saved his life, you’re a hero.' Super awesome," McMahan recalled.
Munoz said part of his instinct to help came from his father who is a retired policeman and former lifeguard.
“It was almost second nature," Munoz said. "You just go in and you have to grab him and pull him out. “
Fire officials said an off-duty Heartland firefighter also helped save the boy's life.
The firefighter began life-saving saving measures until paramedics arrived.
The victim has since been released from the hospital.
Muznos was recognized for his heroic efforts by the principal of McAuliffe Elementary and his classmates at school.
He said his family treated him to a slushy and a Hawaiian burger, one of his favorite meals.