Aug. 29, 2017

Infant Saved From Surf

By COLLIN BREAUX

News Herald Reporter

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 “To have an infant on my board not breathing is gut-wrenching,” Beach Patrol Deputy Ray Maulbeck said. “We were fortunate to be there.”

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Ask Ray Maulbeck what happened Sunday around 3:30 p.m., and he’ll tell you it was “divine intervention.”

Maulbeck, a Beach Patrol deputy with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), was one of several first responders who rescued an infant and two adult women from the Gulf of Mexico. Maulbeck, who’s worked in surf rescue since 1969, brought the child and their mother to shore Sunday after noticing they were 150 yards out behind the Princess Condominiums on Thomas Drive.

He said he was patrolling the area due to rough surf conditions from Tropical Storm Harvey and recalled the scene in a Monday interview with The News Herald.

“To have an infant on my board not breathing is gut-wrenching,” Maulbeck said. “We were fortunate to be there.”

Maulbeck was “beachside behind the condo when he noticed a red plastic inner tube being windblown out into the Gulf,” BCSO wrote Monday in a Facebook post. That was when he sprang into action.

“People came up to my truck and said there’s an infant"  

“I said, ‘Ma’am, you’ve got to rescue breathe for this baby,’ ” Maulbeck recalls telling the mom.

When the two ended up back on the sand, they were helped out by Aya Matsumoto, a German doctor on vacation who worked to clear water from the kid’s lungs. The incident caught the visiting doctor by surprise since she was enjoying a day in the sun before her impromptu assistance.

“I was not expecting that,” Matsumoto, who was there with her sister and boyfriend, told The News Herald. “For me, my sister, my boyfriend, the others — we were like a team. We communicated really well and everyone knew what they were supposed to do.”

Matsumoto said she didn’t perform CPR since the child had a pulse and was breathing. However, she helped put an oxygen mask on the infant when EMS came.

While Maulbeck brought the child and mom in, fellow Deputy Steve Batchelor rescued the other adult female, who also was brought to shore and declined medical help. Local nurse Pam Wallace and Bay County Fire and Rescue Lt. Daniel Simmons also aided in helping the rescued people.

The child was expected to be released from the hospital Monday, according to a conversation Maulbeck said he had with the family.

“They said they were thankful” for the rescue, he said. “It’s a rewarding feeling to help and I’m glad everyone is going home. I was relieved when the child coughed and gagged.”

He then entered the water with his rescue board and saw something no one wants to see — an infant face down in the water. Though he said the mother “was screaming,” he managed to put the two on his board, which carried them back to shore and safety.

“I said, ‘Ma’am, you’ve got to rescue breathe for this baby,’ ” Maulbeck recalls telling the mom.

When the two ended up back on the sand, they were helped out by Aya Matsumoto, a German doctor on vacation who worked to clear water from the kid’s lungs. The incident caught the visiting doctor by surprise since she was enjoying a day in the sun before her impromptu assistance.

“I was not expecting that,” Matsumoto, who was there with her sister and boyfriend, told The News Herald. “For me, my sister, my boyfriend, the others — we were like a team. We communicated really well and everyone knew what they were supposed to do.”

Matsumoto said she didn’t perform CPR since the child had a pulse and was breathing. However, she helped put an oxygen mask on the infant when EMS came.

While Maulbeck brought the child and mom in, fellow Deputy Steve Batchelor rescued the other adult female, who also was brought to shore and declined medical help. Local nurse Pam Wallace and Bay County Fire and Rescue Lt. Daniel Simmons also aided in helping the rescued people.

The child was expected to be released from the hospital Monday, according to a conversation Maulbeck said he had with the family.

“They said they were thankful” for the rescue, he said. “It’s a rewarding feeling to help and I’m glad everyone is going home. I was relieved when the child coughed and gagged.”

 

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