Man honored for saving 3-year-old from drowning in hot tub

Published: Wednesday, July 9 2014 4:10 p.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, July 9 2014 4:10 p.m. MDT

Marcus Burbank, left, saved the life of a little girl who was face down in a hot tub May 27. He performed CPR and revived her. On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, Fire Chief Dale Ekins presented Burbank with the Citizen Life Saver Award during the Lehi City Council meeting.

Jay Dortzbach, Deseret News

LEHI — A 3-year-old was found face down in a hot tub, but, thanks to the actions of a stranger, she is doing just fine.

Professional golfer Marcus Burbank came to the rescue of Aliya Smith on May 27. Burbank was given the Citizen Life Saver Award Tuesday during the Lehi City Council meeting.

It was early afternoon and Aliya and her parents were in the Cresthaven Apartment pool area in Lehi. The little girl got seperated from her parents. Moments later her mother, Nesha Smith, saw Aliya face down in the hot tub.

“I ran and jumped in and screamed, ‘She’s blue, she’s blue,’” Nesha Smith said.

Smith’s 3-year-old daughter was not breathing. Aliyah's father, Derek Smith, tried to pump her stomach, but his daughter remained motionless.

"I was scared out of my mind," he said.

Burbank was at the pool with his children a few feet away when he heard the commotion. He rushed over and started CPR.

"I couldn't find a pulse on her," Burbank said.

“There was no way I could lose her,” Nesha Smith said, getting emotional.

After about a minute of CPR, the little girl started to breathe. “As soon as I saw her sit like that, I just kind of sat back, and it hit me,” Burbank said.

Aliyah was rushed to the hospital. She suffered no injuries and is currently in good health.

"She's been happy and bouncing and singing and dancing and back to normal," Nesha Smith said.

Lehi Fire Chief Dale Ekins, with the help of Aliya, presented the award to Burbank Tuesday. It was the first time Burbank had seen the girl since he saved her life.

Burbank said he doesn't need the recognition. He learned CPR two years ago, thinking he'd never have to use it. Now he just wants other people to get certified in case someone else needs to be saved.

"A couple of minutes makes a big difference," he said.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc

Email: ddolan@deseretnews.com

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