Southold lifeguard recalls saving boy

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Lifeguard Mike Liegey was personally thanked by Richard Herrmann, president and owner of Ocean Bay Management, on Friday morning.

The breeze was blowing and the sun was shining as a dozen or so guests were enjoying a swim at Greenport’s Cliffside Resort condominiums’ pool. By all accounts it was a typical Thursday for lifeguard Mike Liegey, but that all changed in a split second when a 6-year-old boy began drowning while playing with his parents in the shallow end of the pool at about 2 p.m.

That’s when the 20-year-old lifeguard from Southold said his instincts and training kicked in. He ran across the pool deck and immediately began performing CPR on the unconscious young victim.

Emergency crews were called to the scene and a helicopter was put on standby to airlift the boy to Stony Brook University Medical Center ­— but it was fortunately not needed.

After two rounds of CPR, the child regained consciousness before emergency responders had even arrived. The young victim was then rushed to Eastern Long Island Hospital for treatment.

“It all happened so quickly,” Mr. Liegey said in an interview Friday morning. “When that happens all you think of is the child and what you need to be doing to help.”

A graduate of Southold High School, Mr. Liegey has been a lifeguard for three years, spending two years working for the Town of Southold ­and one summer at Cliffside. While he has performed rescues in the past, Thursday’s drowning was his first time using CPR on an unconscious victim.

“It was obvious that this little guy was saved because of Mike’s actions,” said Richard Herrmann, president and owner of Ocean Bay Management, the company that oversees Cliffside. Mr. Herrmann stopped by an interview Friday morning to personally thank Mr. Liegey.

“He exemplifies all the attributes our staff has,” Mr. Herrmann said. “Boy, am I proud he’s our lifeguard.”

Mr. Liegey is now attending Suffolk Community College with plans to study medicine in the future.

The 6-year-old child was taken by a Greenport Fire Department ambulance to ELIH, where police said he was breathing and conscious upon arrival. Hospital officials declined to comment for this story or to share an update on the boy’s condition, citing hospital policy.

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