Security officer dives into pool to save 6-year-old boy

Kovan Residences security officer Jeyaseelan (right) with Raphael, the six-year-old boy he saved, and Mr Adesanya. "I owe him my boy's life. Without him, my son would have been dead," said Mr Adesanya, an accountant.
Kovan Residences security officer Jeyaseelan (right) with Raphael, the six-year-old boy he saved, and Mr Adesanya. "I owe him my boy's life. Without him, my son would have been dead," said Mr Adesanya, an accountant.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Alerted by resident at condo, he pulls out the six-year-old and runs to nearby clinic for help

When security officer Jeyaseelan Jaganathan saw a young boy floating face-down in the swimming pool of the condominium where he works, all he could think of was his own seven-year-old daughter.

He had run from the guardhouse after a resident alerted him. He immediately dived in to save six-year-old Raphael.

Last week, he met the boy and his father, Mr Prince Adesanya Gabriel Aderemi, 53, for the first time since the Nov8 incident.

"I owe him my boy's life. Without him, my son would have been dead," said Mr Adesanya, an accountant.

The Singapore permanent resident, who is originally from Nigeria, is married to Singaporean Elizabeth Adesanya, 40, a security supervisor. They have two other children aged four and nine.

On that day, Raphael was attending a poolside birthday party at Kovan Residences condominium with his mother and two siblings.

No one saw how Raphael entered the pool, said Mr Adesanya, who was working then.

Raphael's mother was in their host's apartment and found out about the incident only when she heard a commotion at about 8.30pm.

This took place after a panicked resident at the condo ran towards the guardhouse where Mr Jeyaseelan - one month into his job - was on duty.

"She was shouting very loudly, 'Please come over, there's a boy drowning in the pool'," said the 43-year-old.

He immediately rushed to the scene and saw Raphael, who was dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, floating in the 1.2m-deep children's pool.

The boy appeared unconscious and was bleeding from his head, he said.

By then, about 30 people had gathered by the poolside. A few of them were trying in vain to pull the unconscious boy in using umbrellas, but no one entered the pool.

Mr Jeyaseelan's training as a security officer kicked in. He jumped into the pool, carried Raphael out and checked his pulse but there was none.

At the time, no one, including Mr Jeyaseelan, knew how to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Aware that there was a clinic across the road from the condo, he ran over there, carrying the boy in his arms. He pleaded with the doctor at the clinic to save Raphael.

"I was thinking of my own child because I have a child around that age," said Mr Jeyaseelan, who has five children aged between seven and 21.

The doctor was able to revive Raphael's pulse and the boy was taken in an ambulance to KK Women's and Children's Hospital. He was warded for five days, three of which were spent in an intensive care unit.

Raphael, however, was a fighter. He regained consciousness the day after the incident and, two days after he was discharged, even performed at his kindergarten's graduation ceremony.

Mr Adesanya later sent a letter of commendation to Mr Jeyaseelan's employer, security company Soverus.

Mr Jeyaseelan has been in the security industry for nine years, but it was the first time he had encountered such a situation, he said.

As he watched Raphael running around and giggling during the interview, he added: "I'm glad he's back to being himself."

mellinjm@sph.com.sg