Chapel Hill couple credited with saving girl from drowning

— A Chapel Hill girl is safe after complete strangers jumped in to save her from drowning last weekend.

Norman Pickard was on the way home to the apartment he shares with Savannah Jastram at University Garden when he heard a scream come from the community pool.

“I came around the corner. I heard splashing, which was weird because no one is allowed in the pool over night,” he said.

At first he thought the two girls at the pool were just playing around, but when he noticed that the one in the water failed to resurface, he dove into action.

“I just saw two figures,” he said. “I watched for a couple of seconds because I heard the one in the pool yell, ‘Help! I can‘t breathe.‘”

Jastram, who could see the action from their apartment, joined him in making a run for the pool.

“I kicked my flip-flops off, and I just jumped and climbed over,” he said.

While Pickard pulled the girl from the pool, Jastram dialed 911.

Then she somehow remembered CPR from a class back in high school.

“At the moment it all rushed back to me,” she said. “I cleared her airway, breathed in, chest compressions, closed her nose, within about two tries she was breathing again.”

When Chapel Hill police arrived minutes later, they credited the couple with saving the girl‘s life. The child was taken to UNC hospitals, and she is expected to make a full recovery

“There’s no doubt in my mind that you saved that little girl’s life,” Chapel Hill Fire Chief Matthew Sullivan told the couple.

Pickard and Jastram say they were just at the right place and paid enough attention to help.

“If Norman had been a little bit late or had just done something for a few more minutes, she may have been gone,” Jastram said.

Police officers invited the couple to a ceremony where Chapel Hill citizens are recognized for extraordinary acts of service, and gave each a challenge coin – a token usually reserved for public safety officials and rarely given to civilians.