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June 24, 2000

Lisa Rapoza spun around when she heard a family's laughter turn to cries of agony.

''The baby's in the water. The baby's in the water.''

Rapoza watched a man snatch a child's limp body out of the pool Friday and work to bring her back to life.

She left the community pool at Hearne and Liberty Shores in Gilbert, told a neighbor to call 911 and then went back to help him.

''He was pinching her nose and breathing into her mouth, but he wasn't doing any compressions,'' she said.

So, she got on her knees and pressed the child's chest while Salam Aishia tried to breathe life back into his 4-year-old daughter's body.


Aishia and Rapoza continued their teamwork. Finally, Samantha gasped for air.

''All of a sudden she started making a noise. Then she was crying,'' Rapoza said. ''When she started to cry, the mother just collapsed.''

Gilbert fire crews continued the rescue efforts and took the child to Desert Samaritan Medical Center in Mesa, where she was in good condition. Gilbert fire spokesman Alex Finter said the girl and her family live in Australia and were here visiting relatives.

No one was more proud of Rapoza than her sons, Michael, 9, and Patrick, 11, who saw mom shine in a tough situation.

''When I saw it, I thought, 'Oh my gosh,' my mom is going to be a hero,'' Michael said.

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Byline: By Monica Davis
©Copyright 2000 Arizona Republic

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