KBTX | Bryan & College Station, TX | Aggieland News

Texas A&M Student Meets Rescuers After Nearly Drowning at Rec Center

A Texas A&M Student who nearly drowned at the campus Rec Center while doing some military training last month is talking about what happened.

He also got to thank his rescuers Monday night.

You might say Ryan Ochoa is a walking miracle.

"I remember grabbing on to the ledge and waking up in the hospital. I had no signs of blacking out or tunnel vision or anything a drowning victim would see or feel," Ryan Ochoa, who is a Texas A&M Junior and Corps of Cadets First Sergeant for Squadron 16.

Ochoa was doing breathing exercises for military training last month at the Texas A&M Natatorium when he came close to death, after holding his breath underwater for several minutes.

"I honestly didn't think anything would ever happen to him because he was so good at it but then he just stayed down there too long and as soon as we noticed that something was wrong we jumped in immediately," said Melody Rulon, a Texas A&M Lifeguard and senior.

Corps Commandant Joe Ramirez is honoring the lifeguards and EMT's who came to Ochoa's rescue with a thank you letter and military coin given to soldiers for service excellence.

"The bottom line is Ryan wouldn't be here today had it not been for the actions of those of you who work here and did what you did," said Brigadier General Joe Ramirez, U.S. Army (Ret.).

Lifeguard Rachel Munden says their years of training truly paid off.

"If one person was already doing something that we needed to do we just kind of worked together and tag teamed it," said Munden.

"It looked very serious, the situation looked very grim from the minute we turned around. Whenever you come up to a CPR obviously you can't get much worst than that," said Canon Thomsen, a Texas A&M Rec Sports EMT.

Ochoa spent two days in the hospital and at first the outlook didn't look good.

Amazingly--he's made a full recovery.

"It's incredible the timing and the way they're trained is excellent if they would have gotten there maybe a minute later I don't know what would have happened," Ochoa said.

What did happen though is an ending that couldn't be any happier.

Cadet Ochoa got back in the Rec Center pool for the first time last week, though he hasn't been doing breathing exercises anymore.

The Rec Center isn't allowing students to do those exercises while they review their current policy.

Other rescuers included:
Lifeguard Robert Worley
Paramedic Joel Stibbe
Ambulance Attendant Tyler Eschbach
EMT Evan Dunnhardt
and EMS Manager Mike Middleton.


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