The second grader dove through six feet of water and pulled the child up to the pool's surface.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 29, 2022. It has since been updated.
A 7-year-old California boy was heralded as a real-life superhero for his quick-thinking actions that helped save a toddler drowning in a pool. Massiah Browne, of Sacramento, was swimming with relatives at his apartment complex in Sacramento on July 19, 2022, when he said he noticed something odd. "I was just playing in the pool and then I saw a boy at the bottom of the pool," the second-grade student told Good Morning America. "And I went to go get him," Massiah recalled seeing the 3-year-old boy—a stranger—with his mouth and eyes open before he dove through six feet of water and pulled the child up to the pool's surface.
Speaking to KTVB, Massiah revealed that he alerted his 9-year-old relative, Savannah, when he first saw the toddler at the bottom of the pool and that she urged him to grab the child's arm and pull him to the surface. From there, Savannah helped him get the boy onto the pool deck safely, where adults came to help and then called 911. "Savannah brought him to his mom and then they did CPR on the boy and then they called the doctor," said Massiah, who also went by his superhero nickname, "Siah Fire."
Once the toddler was out of the water, Massiah—who has reportedly been swimming half his life—and Savannah were said to inform an adult family member about the boy. "He wasn't coming up," the kids' aunt told reporters about the toddler. "He was just like, upside down, face down, floating on top of the pool." A Sacramento Fire Department spokesperson verified the incident to ABC News, confirming that first responders responded to a 911 call at the apartment complex's pool on July 19, 2022. According to the spokesperson, bystanders performed CPR on the boy and the child was breathing by the time medical workers got to the scene.
"The child was transported in critical condition with advanced life support efforts provided by Sacramento firefighters," the spokesperson said. Speaking to WNYW, Massiah's mother, Tiara Delvalle, shared that although her son loved the water and had taken swim lessons since he was a toddler himself, she believed that his actions that day were pure instinct. "You never hear about a 7-year-old saving a 3-year-old, so it was very shocking," said Delvalle, who said she rushed to the scene from her apartment after being alerted of the incident by relatives who were at the pool with her son.
Delvalle also revealed that she was in touch with the mother of the boy and that the toddler was doing well. "It's a miracle," she said of the boy's survival. Meanwhile, Massiah's father, Marcus Browne—a boxer who competed for the United States at the 2012 London Olympics—remarked that although his son swims like "a fish," he was shocked when he heard of his quick-thinking and heroic actions. "I just couldn't believe it," Browne said of his son. "He's a good kid."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of death for kids between the ages of one and four in the United States. It is also the second leading cause of death for older kids up to age 14. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends these four water safety tips to keep youngsters safe in and around water:
1. Close, constant, attentive and capable adult supervision at all times and the use of a life jacket by both adults and children.
2. Install four-sided pool fencing at least 4 feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates to avoid unsupervised access to water.
3. At home, guardians should always be alert when bathing children as infant bath seats can tip over, and children can slip out of them and drown in even a few inches of water in a bathtub. Infants are not to be left alone in a tub, not even for a minute.
4. Water should be immediately emptied from containers—such as pails and buckets—after use.