An 11-year-old boy dived into the deep end of an Eagan apartment complex indoor pool and lifted from the bottom a man outweighing him by 100 pounds in what police are calling a “pretty amazing” act of heroism.
The rescue early Sunday evening at the Town Centre apartments in the 3400 block of Golfview Drive meant nothing more than a brief hospital visit for Srinivasa R. Yalavarthi, a 34-year-old man from Chicago who was in the Twin Cities seeing relatives.
The 70-pound boy, Advaik Nandikotkur, “got the man to the edge of the pool and others helped him out,” officer Aaron Machtemes of the Eagan Police Department said Monday. “He was unconscious and not breathing. For all intents and purposes, he was dead.”
Yalavarthi was with a group of friends and relatives at the pool. Advaik lives in the complex and is a friend of some in the gathering, Machtemes said.
Yalavarthi, who weighs 170 pounds and doesn’t know how to swim, started out in the shallow end of the pool but “went too deep and couldn’t get out” from a depth of 8 feet, Machtemes said.
A couple of minutes passed before the others noticed Yalavarthi was at the bottom of the pool. Other than Advaik, “none of us there knew swimming,” said Advaik’s father, Raghu Nandikotkur.
Raghu Nandikotkur said he went in the pool with a life ring but soon realized the task was too daunting for him. That’s when Advaik, sitting in a chair after a good swim, followed his mother’s orders and went in after the man.
“I pulled the man by his arm,” said the fifth-grader, whose father believes buoyancy helped the boy overcome the significant weight difference.
Once Yalavarthi was at the pool’s edge, Raghu Nandikotkur grabbed the man’s shirt and was joined by others in getting him out. That’s when Advaik’s 38-year-old uncle from Detroit, Suseel Kumar Nandikotkur, stepped in and resuscitated Yalavarthi even though he lacked the training.
“He used common sense,” Raghu Nandikotkur said of his brother, “and gave him mouth-to-mouth until he responded. When he came out [of the water], he was not breathing.”
The passing of another day had Yalavanthi “still processing what happened” and unwilling at this time to grant an interview, Machtemes said. “He did say he was grateful for what they did for him.”
A swim school student
Advaik and his uncle will be recommended for lifesaving awards from the Police Department, the police spokesman noted.
“It’s pretty amazing the kid was able to respond and save the man,” Machtemes said.
The Nandikotkurs emigrated from India three years ago, and Advaik learned to swim at Aqua-Tots in Eagan, his father said. Advaik also is “mentally strong. He takes care of himself emotionally.”
Once emergency responders stabilized Yalavarthi and transported him to a nearby hospital, Advaik started to realize the significance of his actions.
“He was kind of surprised that the neighbors were so appreciative,” the boy’s father said. “It was after people started clapping that he realized what was happening.”