Girl rescued after arm caught in pool pipe

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

DORAVILLE — Childhood curiosity prompted a three-hour rescue to free an 8-year-old girl trapped Tuesday in an apartment complex pool in Doraville.

As her family was wrapping up a swim at their Winter Brook Court apartments, the girl plunged her arm into an opening meant for the pool vacuum line, in a section 6-feet deep. The PVC pipe took a 90-degree turn, and when the girl turned her wrist, the pipe wouldn’t let go, officials said.

Family members held the girl, whose name was not released, above water as firefighters were dispatched at 8:15 p.m. She wouldn’t be free for another three hours.

Fire Department spokesman Lt. Eric Eberly said apartment management drained the pool to lower water levels, and a stepladder helped support the girl. Firefighters tried oil and lubricants, and when that didn’t work, technical rescue team members employed a jackhammer and pneumatic chisel to break away concrete and exhume the pipe, arm and all.

An ambulance transported the girl to an Atlanta children’s hospital to have the pipe cut off, and the scene was declared under control at 11:20 p.m. No serious injuries were reported.

Eberly said the rescue should remind parents to keep eyes on children, especially in aquatic settings. But the curious kid took the harrowing incident in stride, he said.

“She was a trooper. She did great,” Eberly said. “She just wanted her arm out, and she was willing to do what she needed to. The only complaint she had is that she was cold.”