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Family hails pool rescue by 8-year-old

It wasn’t exactly a Coast Guard-style rescue – there were nosinking ships or circling sharks – but a young boy visiting hisgrandmother on vacation last month may still have saved a life.

Eight-year-old Dylan Andrew Case came from Colorado to visit hisgrandmother, Brookhaven’s Joann King, in late July for an impromptufamily reunion and enjoyed an easy-going day in the swimming poolas approximately 30 adults milled about while catching up on thetimes.

At the end of the day, however, he emerged from the dark bluewaters of the deep end exhausted, out of breath and holding abovehis head a 2-year-old boy. The boy had not yet learned to swim buthad taken a running jump into the 8-foot deep end without hisfloaties.

“His family was leaving, but he kind of broke away, came runningfrom the garage and jumped back in,” said Dylan’s father,Brookhaven native David Lynn Case while recalling the incidentMonday. “Dylan went right over to him and grabbed him, and the onlything he had a chance to do was yell, ‘Dad!'”

Case said the 2-year-old – Gulfport’s Sawyer Harrelson, the sonof a family friend – plunged into the water and went straight down.When he resurfaced, only the top of his head was above the water,and he couldn’t paddle any harder.

Dylan came charging into the center of the pool from theopposite side, where he had been clinging to the ladder, andhoisted the boy above his head. Case said his son, not a strongswimmer himself, was struggling to stay afloat while hoistingSawyer above the water and went under several times.

When the adults noticed the situation a second later, severalscreamed. A dry, fully clothed Case dove into the pool andextracted both boys.

“I think it was pretty brave for him, because he’s not the mostaccomplished swimmer and it was definitely over his head,” saidJennifer Case, Dylan’s mother. “He’s getting to be a good swimmer,but swimming at grandma’s pool was probably the most he’d donesince swimming lessons. But he didn’t panic and he didn’t letanything happen to the little guy.”

Poolside, Case said his son was out of breath and a little shookup. The magnitude of Dylan’s rescue attempt was lost on him.

“He didn’t really realize he’d done anything worth mentioning,”Case said. “I started explaining to him, ‘You probably saved thislittle boy’s life.’ (The adults) didn’t really notice anythingbecause he was a good distance away, and it’s not like he makes abig splash. I don’t have any doubt that, without Dylan, the kidcould have easily drowned.”

Dylan said he’s not really sure what crossed his mind as he sawSawyer plunge into the deep water, but he knew he had to save theboy from drowning. He said he was halfway to the ladder andsalvation when his father arrived to carry them both the rest ofthe way.

Afterward, Dylan said he was proud of himself for having actedso quickly.

“He is almost my cousin, and it wouldn’t be a good thing to losehim,” Dylan said.