• Last modified 2988 days ago (June 16, 2011)


Quick action saves 3-year-old at Hillsboro pool

Staff writer

A 3-year-old girl went home from the hospital Monday night after nearly drowning Sunday at Hillsboro Family Aquatic Center.

Kayla McPhail, Marion, was at the pool with her grandmother, Sheila Thouvenell, Sunday afternoon.

“She was playing, then, all of a sudden, we didn’t see her,” Thouvenell said.

She estimated it was 20 seconds between the time she lost sight of Kayla and when people were shouting to call 911.

Ty Klein of Hillsboro was at the pool with his three daughters, getting ready to head home, when his 5-year-old daughter, Violet, got his attention.

“Daddy, I think there’s a girl kneeling on the bottom of the pool,” he remembered Violet telling him.

Klein nudged Kayla with his leg, and when she didn’t respond he pulled her from the bottom and set her on the side of the pool. He said other people at the pool took care of Kayla from that point.

“I would view it as an act of God that I was there,” Klein said. “I don’t want to take a lot of credit.

“The medical personnel did the job. I was just the muscle that put Violet’s idea in motion.”

Kayla was reportedly not breathing when she was pulled from the water, Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning said. Phil Oelke of Hillsboro assisted the lifeguards with CPR until the ambulance arrived, he added.

Kayla was taken by ambulance to Hillsboro Community Hospital and by helicopter from the hospital to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kinning said.

Her father, Chris McPhail, rushed to the hospital as soon as he heard what had happened.

“I was terrified,” he said. “I’ve never been so scared in my life.

When it became clear Monday morning that Kayla would be fine, the relief was “monumental,” McPhail said.

“She’s my everything,” he said. “She’s all I have.”

Kayla was home and playing with her cousins Tuesday. Kayla declined to be interviewed.

Thouvenell said she was thankful for the quick action of the people at the pool. In the near future, Kayla will be required to wear a life jacket at the pool, she said.

Thouvenell said Kayla didn’t seem upset by the ordeal. While still at Wesley Medical Center, Kayla wanted to go to the pool.

“We’re going to get her swimming lessons,” Thouvenell said.

Last modified June 16, 2011