Phillip Campagna jumped in to perform CPR on a teen who went under the water at Daybreak Park in Battle Ground on Thursday
BATTLE GROUND — Had Phillip Campagna and his sons left Daybreak Park when they originally intended, this story would likely have a very different ending.
“Big time fluke that I stuck around that much longer,” Campagna says. “Just enough time to have this happen.”
Campagna says, while his younger son swam a bit longer at the busy park on Thursday afternoon, he stood talking with his older son and another person.
“All of a sudden, out of nowhere, as I’m standing on that little island in the middle of Daybreak underneath the bridge,” Campagna recalls, “two gentlemen just come out of the water and they’ve got what looked to be a kid with a diving mask on. And they’re yelling, ‘hey, we need some help!'”
That’s when Campagna says his CPR training and upbringing as a boy scout, cub scout, and eagle scout took over.
“When I got to him he was gray, blue, completely unresponsive. He was gone,” says Campagna.
He began alternating mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions, hoping to get the young man breathing again.
“He bit my lip,” Campagna says, “and I saw his eyes slightly perk up, and I knew I had him back.”
After getting the teen to spit up some water, Campagna says he enlisted the help of some other men nearby to get the victim from the island to the nearby boat ramp. There they made him comfortable until paramedics arrived.
Campagna says the teen’s father was there, and that the victim is apparently autistic. It’s still not clear how the near drowning happened, but there is a steep drop off in that part of the East Fork Lewis River.
Luckily, or perhaps fortuitously, the teen was able to respond to paramedics, and managed to walk to the waiting ambulance.
This isn’t the first time Campagna has been pressed into action to help save a life. He says a little over a year ago he came upon a car wreck, breaking a window to help pull a victim out. Two other times he’s had to perform CPR. One of those times the victim, unfortunately, did not survive.
“If I see someone in trouble, especially children or women,” Campagna says, “I will step in just about a hundred percent of the time if it’s not being taken care of.”
Note: Clark County Today has requested more information from Clark County Fire & Rescue. We will update this story with the victim’s condition when/if it becomes available..