North Carolina

9-year-old jumps into action to save boy at bottom of apartment pool, NC officials say

A 9-year-old boy was at a birthday party in western North Carolina last month when he realized something wasn’t right.

Jayden Castillo noticed a younger child who had been swimming in an apartment complex pool in Asheville was under water “much longer than normal,” the Citizen-Times reported Tuesday.

That’s when he saw the 5-year-old face-up at the bottom of the pool, the newspaper reports.

“I just had to get him because he just feels like a part of my family,” Jayden told WJZY.

So the 9-year-old dove in and started to pull the other boy, Marlee Shelton, to safety, WLOS reports.

Adults saw what was going on and helped to lift the child out of the pool and provide CPR, according to WJZY.

After the near-drowning, the boy was taken to a hospital, where his friend Jayden visited him, WLOS reports.

“I just know that I’m so happy that Marlee is still alive,” the older boy told the station.

Jayden’s life-saving actions didn’t go unnoticed.

The Asheville Fire Department on Monday honored Jayden and Marlee and called the 9-year-old a “true local hero,” according to a Twitter post.

And it seems Jayden “doesn’t mind being treated like a hero,” the Citizen-Times reports.

“It feels amazing, actually,” he told the newspaper.

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