When Troy Pringle jumped into the St. James Crossing apartment swimming pool with his friends May 30, he had never met Natasha Young or Lakheetah Allen. Soon afterward, they saved his life.
The North Charleston Fire Department presented the Chief's Citizens Award on Thursday to Young, 18, and Allen, 23, who both used CPR to revive the 16-year-old West Ashley High School student after he nearly drowned.
It was early in the afternoon that Saturday when Troy entered the water. He said that his friends knew how to swim but that he did not. He quickly found himself trapped underwater.
"I thought I was going to die," Troy said.
Young, who lives at the complex, spotted Troy at the bottom of the pool and called for help.
"At first I was banging on the window and I was like, 'He's drowning, he's drowning,' " Young said. Then, remembering the free CPR training she had received while taking her 4-month-old son Zion to MUSC for a checkup, she turned back to help and saw Allen pulling Troy out of the pool.
Allen was visiting the complex as a prospective renter and had taken CPR classes at South Carolina State University. The two women took turns pumping Troy's chest.
"I didn't know how tiring it could be, but it is definitely tiring, so I'm glad that we were both there, you know, a tag-team situation," Allen said. North Charleston EMS arrived minutes after Troy was revived, and Troy spent the night in ICU before returning home.
The near-drowning occurred during a spike in the number of Charleston-area drownings, a trend that North Charleston Fire Chief Greg Bulanow said often comes with the end of school.
"We're very pleased that these ladies were there at the right time to prevent a tragic circumstance," Bulanow said. "But there's been five recent drownings including several with small children, and we're very concerned about that."