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Toddler OK after nearly drowning

Staff writer

Every mother’s greatest fear is that something will happen to her child. Nothing stills her heart more quickly than knowing her baby is in danger.

Saturday afternoon, Heather Dunnahoo’s 2-year-old daughter, Aryah Kaylee Corona, a quick and clever toddler, figured out how to open a screen door at her grandparents’ house at 602 N. Elm St. and went into the back yard. She sat on the grass next to a koi pond, took her shoes off, and decided to play in the pond, having no concept of its four-foot depth and danger.

Luckily for Aryah, her father, Sean Corona, heard her splashing and realized immediately what the noise meant. He ran to the pond, jumped in, and pulled her from the murky water that was well over her head. Someone in the house called 911.

Heather was a couple of blocks away in her car, picking up her nephew, and did not get back to the house until emergency crews were on the scene.

“I see that whole thing over and over in my mind,” she said. “I can’t believe it happened. I think I even asked that: ‘How did this happen?’”

When an ambulance was called by Marion County dispatch, the crew was told, “she is breathing, but they are having a hard time keeping her awake.”

The team in the ambulance got Aryah to expel pond water from her lungs and requested a LifeTeam helicopter. Aryah was flown to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.

“She was grumpy and tired,” her mother said. “I think she was scared, too. She didn’t know what happened to her.

“They admitted her and kept her 24 hours for observation. By the next morning she was up and at ’em. She responded well, had no fever. They had her doing lung therapy, blowing bubbles, making pinwheels spin, and things to make her work her lungs. She thought it was fun.”

Heather was relieved to see that her child was back to normal.

“We feel lucky,” she said. “We are glad to have her home. I was sort of irritated at the number of people who drove by because they heard the ambulance or saw the LifeTeam helicopter land. I felt like it was a real invasion of our privacy.

“But I would like for people to know she is OK. I don’t want to live it through a bunch of questions about her, so I hope people will just let us get over this and move on,” Heather said.

Heather and her family live in Newton.

Last modified July 15, 2015

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