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Herriman High School senior saves drowning boy


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HERRIMAN — He knew it wasn't a good thing for a child to spend a long time under the water, and his frantic swim and hoist to safety may have saved a 7-year-old boy's life.

Herriman High School senior Greg Peterson was attending a conference of the Future Business Leaders of America Thursday at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center.

He said he was swimming in the hotel's indoor pool that night, when he noticed three children at the opposite end. Two got out, and then Peterson said he heard someone call out, "Clark is under the water."

"After it had been 5 or 10 seconds, I really started to worry because little kids can't stay under water for very long," Peterson recalled. "I really started wondering and my wheels started turning in my head trying to figure out why he was under the water."

Peterson said he swam quickly toward the end where the children had been, and spotted the boy feet from the steps out of the pool. He was on his stomach at the bottom.

"I picked him up by his chest. I couldn't feel a heartbeat - or no respiratory movement at all," Peterson said. "I just knew that I needed to get him out of the pool. I didn't know what I was going to do with him next."


I picked him up by his chest. I couldn't feel a heartbeat, or (any) respiratory movement at all. I just knew that I needed to get him out of the pool.

–Greg Peterson


At that time, Peterson said the boy's mother dove into the pool completely dressed. He said he wasn't sure why the child felt so light lifting him out of the water, but he was able to place him in the arms of another relative. The relative administered CPR and revived the boy.

An official said the family informed the hotel the boy spent the night at Primary Children's Medical Center as a precaution, but was doing "fine."

"It was a miracle," said Peterson's FBLA advisor, Herriman High School business education teacher Matt Filippini. "Greg told me he was planning on going to the dance, but for some reason, something inside of him told him he was supposed to go swimming."

Filippini beamed the student, saying his actions were "nothing but heroic" and he exhibited the best qualities of a leader.

"It's just stepping up and knowing what the right thing is to do at the right time," Filippini said. "He was at the right place at the right time. Thankfully the little kid is still alive because of that."

Peterson shied away from the idea his actions were heroic.

"It's something I think any reasonable person would have done in that circumstance had they not frozen up and been super scared and run away," he said.

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Andrew Adams

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