How a Pflugerville cub scout rescued his brother from potentially drowning

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PFLUGERVILLE, TX (KXAN) — What started as a fun May day outside at his grandparent’s pool in Bertram, Texas, turned upside down for one child and his family.

Five-year-old Chadden Arnold was caught underwater, pinned by a pool flotation device. But thankfully he wasn’t alone. His brother, eight-year-old Easton Arnold, was also in the pool that day.

“Easton swam away and then realized his brother wasn’t behind him anymore and started investigating and noticed he was trapped underwater,” mother Jennifer Arnold said.

From left to right: Jennifer (holding third son), Chadden, Easton, and Nick (KXAN Photo/Todd Bailey)

Easton immediately called for help and his dad Nick Arnold sprung into action.

“Nick dove in, fully clothed, shoes on, cell phone in his pocket and came up with him [from the water],” Jennifer said.

Nick claims his reaction was “just instinct.”

“Easton cried for help, I looked over and I saw something just wasn’t right,” Nick said.

After Nick pulled Chadden from the water, he thankfully realized he was still conscious.

“It definitely shook him, and he was coughing up a little bit of water, but he was able to breathe on his own.”

Despite everything seeming alright, Jennifer made sure to monitor Chadden for the next 48 hours to keep an eye on possible symptoms of secondary or dry drowning. Thankfully, there weren’t any issues and he made a full recovery.

Without Easton’s quick thinking to recognize and alert his father, this story might have a different ending. Both he and his father credit what he’s learned in cub scouts as to why he acted so fast.

“In cub scouts, the buddy system is where you bring a buddy where you go, so in case something bad happens, your buddy can alert somebody,” Easton said.

It meant everything for the situation, Nick said.

“To see a situation that was dangerous and immediately think, ‘This isn’t right, I have to let somebody know,’ we couldn’t be more proud.”

Capitol Area Council Boy Scouts of America noticed too. They honored Easton in an Instagram post. Easton’s parents nominated him for the organization’s Meritorious Action Award.

“We wanted Easton to realize what a huge part he had [in saving his brother’s life],” Jennifer said.

Jennifer had a message for other parents when it comes to pool safety.

“We’re very aware of the dangers of the water, our children take swim lessons, we don’t let them going swimming without an adult present. Chadden was in a very expensive flotation device that was purchased for someone who is not capable of swimming… Even though you’re fully prepared or at least think you’re fully prepared, just know that an accident can happen at any time. Just be aware.”

Dell Children’s Medical Center saw a record number of 47 near-drownings involving children last year, as well as six total drownings.

You can learn more about water safety tips from the Dell Children’s Medical Center website.

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