UPDATE: 3-Year-Old Released From Hospital After Near Drowning

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A little girl that nearly drowned in a swimming pool a week ago at an Emerald Isle vacation home, is finally getting to go home.

Family tells WITN that 3-year-old Lilly Russell was allowed to leave Vidant Medical Center on Sunday, after earlier in the week, they say she made a “miraculous recovery.”

Despite having water in her lungs and developing pneumonia, family says Lilly was able to bounce back.

Russell wasn't breathing last Tuesday afternoon when she was pulled out of the swimming pool. Her mom had just taken a picture of the two next to the pool and was putting her camera away when the youngster fell into the pool.

A teenager next door heard the mother's screams and rushed over to perform CPR. The town last Friday honored Katie Nickels with saving Lilly's life.

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The family of a little girl who nearly drowned last week at an Emerald Isle vacation home says she has made a "miraculous full recovery."

Three year old Lilly Russell wasn't breathing last Tuesday afternoon when she was pulled out of the swimming pool. Her mom had just taken a picture of the two next to the pool and was putting her camera away when the youngster fell into the pool.

A teenager next door heard the mother's screams and rushed over to perform CPR. The town last Friday honored Katie Nickels with saving Lilly's life.

On Friday, the child's aunt told us despite getting water in her lungs and developing pneumonia, Lilly has made a full recovery at Vidant Medical Center where she is expected to be released soon.


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The 17-year-old girl credited with saving the life of a three-year-old at Emerald Isle this week was honored by the town Friday.

Not only was Katie Nickels at the right place at the right time when she heard the screams of a neighbor Tuesday afternoon, she was also trained in CPR.

The screams were from Emily Russel. Her daughter Lilly was face down in an Emerald Isle swimming pool. She wasn't breathing and had no pulse.

Nickels says, "I was really upset to see her like that. I just knew I had to do something right away."

Emerald Isle Mayor Art Schools says, "To see a young person that's been to babysitting classes and learned how to do CPR and they didn't have time to sit there and think, Am I going to do this or not? It turned out to be a really good outcome. I'm really pleased that she was here."

An ambulance arrived after Katie had Lilly breathing again.

The little girl was flown to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

We spoke with Lilly's aunt who tells us she does have water in her lungs and developed pneumonia, but she is expected to make a full recovery.

Katie tells us she plans on visiting Lilly in the hospital Saturday on her way back to Wake Forest, where both she and the Russel's live.

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Emerald Isle plans to honor the vacationing teenager who is credited with saving a little girl's life.

Town officials said at 1 p.m., they will be at the Emerald Isle Town Administration Building to honor 17-year-old Katie Nickels of Wake Forest.

Nickels heard 3-year-old Lilly's mother screaming for the child around 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Officials said the mother was putting away her camera, then turned to find her daughter face down in the swimming pool at their Emerald Isle rental house.

Nickels heard the screams and ran over, beginning CPR on the child.

Lilly was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center and is expected to fully recover.


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A 3-year-old who nearly drowned while vacationing in Emerald Isle has developed pneumonia according to her aunt, but she is expected to be okay. The little girl, Lilly from Wake Forest, was playing with her mom at their rental house pool when she went under.

A teenager who was vacationing nearby rushed to help. 17-year-old Katie Nickels, also of Wake Forest, gave little Lilly two rounds of CPR before the child began breathing on her own. Lilly was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center, and thankfully she is expected to fully recover.

Emerald Isle officials say the plans to honor the 17-year-old Friday afternoon during a special ceremony at 1:00 p.m. at the town administration building.

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A 17 year old vacationing in Emerald Isle is being credited for saving the life of a three year old girl.

Emerald Isle authorities say around 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, Emily Russell was playing with her daughter, Lilly, at their rental house on Colonel Hanson Court. The Wake Forest mom had just taken a picture of her daughter at the edge of the pool and got up to put the camera away. When the woman turned around her daughter was face down in the swimming pool.

Russell found her daughter not breathing and began screaming for her. Neighbors heard the screams and Katie Nickels came to help.

The 17-year-old, who is also from Wake Forest, started CPR on the child. The teen learned CPR when she was 15 and has been re-certified twice. After two rounds the child began breathing on her own.

Lilly was airlifted to Vidant Medial Center where she remains on a ventilator. Town officials say the child is in stable condition. Her aunt told WITN the little girl has developed pneumonia, but she is expect to recover.

Emerald Isle says it plans to honor the 17-year-old Friday afternoon during a special ceremony at 1:00 p.m. at the Town Administration Building.


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