Answering the cries of a frantic mother who couldn’t find her 2-year-old son, residents of a Columbus' Far West Side neighborhood went looking and found the boy floating at the edge of an apartment-complex retention pond.
Ahmed Nasim was the first to spot the child in the water at the Country Ridge Apartments along Roberts Road. He pulled the child — whom authorities have not yet identified — out, and Nasim and others attempted CPR.
The boy was taken to Doctors Hospital West and later moved to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Columbus police said he was in “very critical condition” this afternoon.
Authorities said it was unclear how long the child had been in the water, but it was at least several minutes.
The boy had wandered off as his mother, whose name has not been released, was unloading groceries from her car and carrying them into an apartment on Farmhouse Lane that faces the pond.
The family is here from St. Louis to visit relatives, said neighbor Habiba Alio. She was one of several people who looked for the child and who called 911.
Country Ridge has a large Somali population. Language was a barrier for officers as they tried to investigate what had happened. The first 911 call came in at 3:34 p.m.
Alio said the child’s twin brother was asleep in the apartment as the whole thing unfolded.
She said that at one point as the woman carried in the groceries, “she turned around and didn’t see the baby. She thought maybe he was hiding.”
She knocked on neighbors’ doors and asked for help. Alio and others responded and looked in the closets and under furniture. Others canvassed outside.
Then, Alio heard louder, more-frantic cries and everyone ran toward the water.
Nasim said that when he spotted the child, he didn’t know what to do. Then, an instinct kicked in, and he had to try somehow to help.
“I was scared,” he said. “It was a very sad moment for everyone.”
By Holly Zachariah - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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