ORLANDO, Fla. – A 14-year-old boy survived after being sucked to the bottom of a hotel hot tub, receiving air as his father breathed into his mouth for several minutes until he could be pulled out of the water.
Aljuwon Pipkin, who was visiting from New Jersey, was released from the hospital a week after the July 13 incident. Officials said a grate at the bottom of the tub became dislodged, creating a strong suction that pulled the teen underwater.
The Osceola County Sheriff's Office says he could have been immersed anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes.
"I get chills now even speaking about it," father Sharif Pipkin told WKMG-TV in Orlando on Thursday. "I figured he was at the bottom and they just couldn't pull him up and then he didn't come up. And, I pulled again and he didn't come up. I began to holler for help from people."
As others jumped in to pull the teen from the bottom of the tub, Pipkin's father began trying to breathe air into his son's mouth, authorities said.
Pipkin was transported to Florida Hospital South in critical condition and doctors initially feared he suffered brain damage. Sheriff's officials said it took a couple days to drain the water from his lungs, but he was expected to make a full recovery.
"I just remember going down to the pool and then waking up in the hospital," Aljuwon Pipkin told WKMG. "I can appreciate life more. It makes you want to work harder for things."
Sharif Pipkin did not immediately return a message left Monday on his cell phone by The Associated Press.