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Rescuers struggle to save boy trapped underwater for 8 minutes in harrowing video

The boy got trapped underwater after getting his leg caught in a pipe.
by Scott Stump / / Source: TODAY

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A newly-released surveillance video shows the dramatic rescue of a 12-year-old boy who survived being stuck underwater at a resort pool for almost eight minutes.

The Michigan boy was on vacation with his family at the Avista Resort in North Myrtle Beach last month when he found himself in a life-and-death struggle after his leg got stuck in an intake pipe in a lazy river pool at the resort.

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Surveillance footage showed the frightening scene, which began with two boys playing in the pool near a drain. One of them then lifted a 3-foot by 3-foot grate and got stuck when his leg was sucked into a pipe.

The boy's head quickly slipped underwater. The other boy tried to pull him out and then yelled for help after about 90 seconds, causing a woman to run over. Signs near the pool indicated no lifeguards were on duty.

After the boy was underwater for nearly two minutes, a vacationing Pennsylvania corrections officer named Shaun Skursky ran over and spent several minutes trying to alternately pull the boy to safety and keep him breathing.

"I was giving him underwater breaths to try and keep him alive,'' Skursky told Kristen Dahlgren on TODAY Thursday.

By the time police arrived and dove in to help, the boy had been underwater for seven minutes and 22 seconds.

He was finally freed after seven minutes and 40 seconds underwater when hotel maintenance workers turned off the pool's pumps. Officers immediately started CPR and revived him.

"I'm just happy that he's alive," Skursky said. "Honestly, if it wasn't for everyone that helped me, it probably wouldn't have been the same outcome."

The pool's filtration system had been inspected twice last year and was up to code. Video showed that the boy removed the grate that was there for protection.

"With the grates in place, our lazy river is safe for all of our guests,'' Avista Resort officials said in a statement to NBC News. "Evidence confirms that the boy and his companion dislodged the grate before he caught his foot in the intake."

The boy's current condition is unclear because his family has asked for privacy, but he was able to go home after a harrowing ordeal thanks to a group of strangers and first responders.

"It's just something I felt like I had to do, and I'm glad I did it because now this little boy gets to live the rest of his life out,'' Skursky said.

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter.

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