Israeli Toddler Who Nearly Drowned Dances Five Days Later

2-year-old Elchanan on stage at United Hatzalah’s annual Sukkot concert Oct. 9, after he had nearly drowned Oct. 5 in Jerusalem. Credit: United Hatzalah
An Israeli toddler who fell into a pond in a Jerusalem neighborhood and was considered “clinically dead” by rescuers beat the odds and survived.

The 2-year-old boy, whose first name is Elchanan, left his family’s sukkah in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood after lunch Oct. 5 and wandered away to a nearby pond, where he slipped and fell in. The toddler was underwater for some time before he was found by his parents, who called for help, according to United Hatzalah. Two volunteer emergency medical technicians were close by and arrived about two minutes later.

The first responders started CPR on the boy, who was not breathing and had no pulse, while his parents, family and onlookers prayed for his recovery. Elchanan was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was in serious but stable condition later that evening.

“I didn’t want to tell the parents at the time, but their boy was clinically dead when the team arrived, and he was brought back from the brink,” said Dr. Adam Ballin, a volunteer with United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit. “The chances of this kind of CPR succeeding on a young boy in this situation are infinitesimal.”

The toddler was released from the hospital Oct. 9. That evening, the family was invited to share their story at United Hatzalah’s annual Sukkot concert, where the boy jumped and played on stage “as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened,” said Raphael Poch, the emergency response group’s spokesperson.