Firefighters on Saturday rescued a 3-year-old boy after he became trapped in a pool skimmer at a home in the Dove Canyon neighborhood of Rancho Santa Margarita, officials said.
“The child had slid down into the strainer mechanism that is located at the pool edge,” Steve Concialdi, spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority, said in a statement. “In a squatting position, his legs had become wedged under the pool coping.”
OCFA personnel responded to the 20 block of Highpoint at 5:15 p.m. after family members said they simply needed help getting the uninjured child unstuck, according to Concialdi. The first group of firefighters to arrive at the scene, realizing the rescue operation would be more complex, requested assistance from a truck company and medic unit.
Crews made several unsuccessful attempts to lift the boy out of the apparatus by using dishwashing soap and different positions to free his legs, the statement said.
The response was then upgraded to a “technical rescue.” Three Fire Authority search-and-rescue units, equipped with concrete-removal equipment, were summoned to the home.
The responders decided to remove the pool coping and surrounding material in order to extract the pool skimmer’s strainer unit.
About 45 minutes later, the child was freed and reunited with his parents, unharmed, Concialdi said.
Clarification: A fire official described the apparatus in which the boy was trapped as a pool filter. Photos provided by the Fire Authority show he was rescued from a pool skimmer.