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2 PTC girls rescued from drowning

Girl, 11, sounds alarm as sisters lay unbreathing on pool bottom; adults using CPR credited with saving their lives

Two Peachtree City girls who sank to the bottom of a pool at a party Saturday are alive today thanks to an alert 11-year-old and adults who performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Katelyn LaRusso, 11, noticed sisters Kinsley Best, 3, and Reagan Best, 5, at the bottom of the pool. She yelled for help, and homeowner Nancy Bernardi jumped in the pool to bring Kinsley and Reagan to the surface.

Both girls were blue and not breathing, said their father, Doug Best.

Kathleen Mason, a mother at the party, performed rescue breathing on Kinsley, who quickly expelled water and started to breathe again. Reagan was brought back to life as Nancy Bernardi’s husband Will gave her CPR, which Mason assisted . A bystander called 911.

The girls, who were treated by Peachtree City paramedics, spent a night in the intensive care unit at Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital but have made a 100 percent recovery, Doug Best reports.

Having stayed at home for quality time with son Hunter instead of attending the pool party, Doug Best recalled getting a phone call as the girls were loaded into the ambulance from another mom on the scene.

She relayed to Doug that Kinsley was breathing well but the medics were “still working” on Reagan.

“At that point, my mind went to: ‘she’s gone,’” Doug Best said. “For a period of time there the world was just ending for me. My son is looking at me going, ‘Who is it, what’s wrong?’ I was absolutely hearing the news that she had died.”

Then either a police officer or paramedic grabbed the phone and reported that Reagan’s breathing was restored.

Today both girls are alive, happy and 100 percent recovered, Best said. And he knows exactly why.

“I thank the fact that Mr. Bernardi had at some point taken time in his life and said, ‘OK, I’m going to get CPR training,’” Best said. “... He gave us the most precious gift you could possibly ever give.”

Best said he is hopeful his family’s ordeal will encourage others to take CPR classes and also be extremely cautious with any children around pool settings. He recommends designating one specific adult to monitor the pool at any given time, because in a social setting it can become easy to get lost in conversation and not pay as much attention to the kids in the pool.

It wasn’t until later that the Best family fully learned exactly how Kinsley and Reagan ended up at the bottom of the pool. Doug Best explained that Reagan is a fantastic swimmer, “a real fish” and Kinsley, the 3-year-old, can go from end to end of the pool while wearing a ring type floatation device.

The girls were in the deep end and wanted to share a floatation mat together. Because there wasn’t room enough for them to share the mat, it was decided that Kinsley could take off her flotation device to make room, Best explained.

At one point Reagan got off the mat and Kinsley panicked, grabbing her sister by the neck. Reagan struggled and both ended up sinking to the bottom of the pool.

While Reagan is a great swimmer herself, she couldn’t have been expected to save her sister, Best said. At the same time, Kinsley’s flotation device gave a “false sense of security,” Best added.

“Obviously this was the most terrifying thing that has happened in our lives,” Doug Best said.

He is determined, however, to make something good out of the near tragedy. A coach for son Hunter’s 11-12-year-old baseball team, Best gathered the team and parents after a game to share the story and remind them to be cautious around pools.

Best also wanted to the team to hear him praise Katelyn LaRusso, herself 11, as being a heroine for being alert and taking action.

“In 30 seconds, you probably would’ve been looking at permanent damage and things like that,” Best said. “Every second counted.”



I'm so grateful to hear a tragedy was averted. So often, it's not the case. You're so right that the CPR training was key in this situation and hallelujah that Katelyn spotted her sisters in trouble. And you're so right that a designated 'lifeguard' needs to be assigned anytime kids are in the pool. Such a hard and important lesson, but again, thank you Lord for sparing these girls!

With the summer season upon us - this story should get everyone recalling and/or taking CPR lessons. At all parties, there should be one adult keeping their eye on the pool at all times - and if that adult has to leave or becomes involved in a conversation, they should notify another adult to give their undivided attention to the precious children in the pool. So grateful this story had a happy ending.

The article fails to mention the fact that there was a registered nurse at the pool party who assisted in the rescue of the 2 girls and who performed CPR on the 3 year old,resucitating her quite quickly and then working jointly with the homeowner in getting the 5 year old to breath again just prior to the arrival of the paramedics.Despite her immense help in this situation she choses to remain in the background. The parents of these 2 beautiful girls owe both her AND the homeowners a boatload of gratitude.We are all thankful that she was there with the knowledge and expertise to assist in saving them. This silent hero is just thankful that the girls are healthy and happy as we all are.

This is Reagan and Kinsley's dad. I feel sick that Ms. Mason's actions weren't initially acknowledged in the original article. The events of the last few days have been sureal and hectic. I thought I had provided that information to the reporter with the Citizen but I do know that the story needed to be prepared hastily to meet a deadline.

I believe nurses are among our unsung hereos. We got the priveledge of meeting several very special nurses over the past few days. Our family will forever be in Ms. Mason's debt as well as Mr. and Mrs. Bernardi's and Katelyn's. Together they gave us a gift that we will never be able to repay.

My sincere hope is that this story touches a few lives in one way or another. Perhaps some will seek out CPR training so that they to might be able to offer the gift of life. Perhaps some will simply be a little more vigilant than they might have been around a pool. Perhaps others will just hold their loved ones a little tighter. For me personaly, I think this has been a reaffirmation to me of God's mercy and love for us.

In any case we are trully blessed and thankful that this was a triumph rather than a tragedy and thank all those who have shared their love and prayers with us over the past few days.

The Best Family

I encourage folks who have deep ends to have rescue hooks. Just because there are adults around doesn't mean they can swim well and dive and especially recover a person from a 7-10 ft pool quickly. These items have gone out of style because they look intimidating but they could save a life.

good idea for sure.

this from happening.

First, Parents that pay attention when they are at a social event where there is water and young children that may not be the strongest of swimmers.

Second, they could have called around or asked people if there are life guards that are willing to work parties. There are always life guards looking for extra money. (Ask for and check their certification cards to make sure they are from the Red cross and up to date, never hurts to make a copy either.)

The second one kills two birds with one stone, it has dedicated eyes watching the water for the safety of the children and allows parents to "socialize"

Although our children may swim like fish it is our responsibility as parents to make sure they are being supervised. One minute out of our site and our lives can be changed forever.

The girls are simply adorable and I'm glad this had a happy ending.

For those who are interested we have put together a CPR class the weekend after Memorial Weekend:

Red Cross CPR Certification Class (50 spots available for this class)
Date: June 5, 2010
Location: Booth Middle School - Cafeteria
Time: 9 - 2:30 (1/2 hour break for lunch)
Cost: $35
Information: The course certification will be taught by the Boys Scouts (an Authorized Provider for the Red Cross.) Participants will receive CPR certification which covers both adults and toddlers. We will have lunch brought to the cafeteria.

If you are interested in attending, please email us with your full name, address, email, and phone numbers as we will need to give it to the instructors to produce certificates. Anyone 8 years old or older is welcome to attend this training.

Once again we thank everyone for their kinds words and prayers. We are blessed and so thankful to have our girls and we truly feel there is so much good that has come from this in just heightened awareness alone.

Please let us know as soon as you can if you will be attending and we will lock in a spot for you.

Please don't hesitate to call or email with questions.

Warm Regards,

Doug and Timree Best


scott.allerdice's picture

I found this from other resource:

Reagan and Kinsley Best nearly drowned at a neighbor's pool over the weekend.

The girls' mother, Timree Best said there were lots of parents and children around the pool, but they didn't notice both girls sink to the bottom.

An 11-year-old girl noticed the girls disappear and jumped in to check on them. The girl rose to the surface and screamed for help.

Several parents jumped in to pull the girls out and then started CPR.

The girls made a full recovery.

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