San Diego

Teen Who Tried To Save Drowning Toddler Speaks Out

Farhan Salehi has been identified as the toddler who was pulled unresponsive from Model Yacht Pond on March 12.

The teenager who rushed to help administer CPR after a toddler was pulled from the bottom of a pond in Mission Bay Park is speaking out for the first time after the 19-month-old passed away. 

Mariana Alvarado said she was at Model Yacht Pond with friends when she said she heard screaming and cries for help.

Alvarado said she raced into the crowd of people screaming and saw a mother trying to wake up her lifeless 19-month-old son. 

That's when the 18-year-old San Diego City College student said she cleared a path to the boy, kneeled down and put her newly learned CPR skills to work.

"I put my hand on his forehead and pushed it back," Alvarado demonstrated. "That way the airway opens and you can make sure nothing is in the way. Then I took two breaths and then continued compressions."

Alvarado, an aspiring pediatric surgeon, told NBC 7 that she never imagined she would have to perform CPR so soon after learning the skill to save a drowning child's life.

Once emergency crews arrived, lifeguards performed CPR on the toddler until medics got to the scene just after 6 p.m.

Farhan Salehi has been identified as the toddler who was pulled unresponsive from Model Yacht Pond on March 12.

Salehi was taken to the hospital, where he died on March 15. 

Alvarado just learned about the child's death on Tuesday when she saw news reports surface. 

"I was hoping for the best," she said. "Condolences to the family. It's very unfortunate. I hoped I could do more to help, but I tried my best." 

The ME's office said the cause of death was drowning. His death was ruled an accident. 

The investigation into what happened is ongoing, San Diego Police Officer Billy Hernandez said.

A new 911 dispatch system may have caused confusion on that Sunday when a toddler needed rescue near Mission Bay Park, according to Sgt. Ed Harris, leader of the lifeguards union and former candidate for San Diego mayor.

Harris said a 911 call came in and firefighters were initially dispatched. One minute later, he said, another 911 call came and lifeguards were dispatched. Lifeguards arrived within two minutes, before firefighters according to Harris.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy has said in the past the new system was put in partly to combat the high volume of unanswered 911 calls.

Authorities have said they are not sure arriving two minutes earlier would have changed anything in this particular case. 

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