Staff, swimmers at Palo Alto pool credited with saving teen's life

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KTVU) - Staff and swimmers at a Palo Alto country club are being credited with saving the life of a 17-year old boy. They say he nearly drowned, after blacking out at swim practice.

Austin Chase wasn't breathing when staff members pulled him out of the pool. And while they had never dealt with anything quite like this before, they had trained for it.

Nine-year-old Jake Lee was the first to notice, another swimmer had been underwater too long.

"I started getting worried and I told the coach," says Jake Lee.

That kick-started started a series of events, that likely saved the life of 17-year old Austin Chase. And much of what happened Wednesday evening at the Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club was caught on camera.

Two swim coaches jumped in, along with a club member. Then a camp counselor at the club, Edwin Zuniga, rushed to begin CPR.

"It was just a split second decision. I knew what I had to do without thinking about it twice," says Zuniga.

As it turns out, when Zuniga is not working at his job at the club, he's an army reservist and is also training to be an EMT and firefighter.

His graduation from the South Bay Regional Fire Academy was Thursday night. He says he's just grateful he could help.

"That I was able to be a part of that team that was able to help him out and give him a second chance at life with his family," he says.

The country club's GM says he's grateful too, thanks to his team's quick actions, CPR was started almost instantly.

"It was within 9 seconds of being pulled out of the pool. I looked at the video a couple of times," says Dirk Zander, GM of Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club.

Austin Chase was breathing a few seconds after that. He's now recovering from what was called a shallow water blackout.

His family attended a brief ceremony at the club to thank everyone for their actions.

"I was choking up because it's like being a proud father. I'm extremely proud of my team," says Zander.

Jake Lee got special recognition for his quick thinking too.

"It makes me happy that I saved him and I'm glad he's ok," he says.

Austin Chase is apparently doing much better, and was set to be released from the hospital Friday.