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Visiting doctor rescues boy from drowning off St. Pete Beach

ST. PETE BEACH — When Dr. Joe Schramski and his friends stepped off the plane that carried them from Detroit to Tampa on Friday morning, they had just a few things in mind: fun, sun and sand.

To that end, they caught a shuttle straight to Upham Beach, not even stopping at their hotel.

They weren't there for more than 20 minutes when people started shouting and pointing to something in the water.

Schramski, a 26-year-old emergency doctor who works at Oakwood Hospital in metro Detroit, started swimming toward where people were pointing. After about five minutes battling choppy waves and a swift undertow, he spotted a small shape under the water.

It was a boy. He was blue and unconscious. His eyes were rolled back in his head.

"I did not expect to see a 9-year-old boy lying motionless in the water," said Schramski. "I assumed he was dead when I found him."

Schramski, who said he doesn't consider himself a strong swimmer, grabbed the boy around the neck and made the trip back to the beach.

Once on shore, he and a friend, who is a doctor from Philadelphia, performed CPR.

"He vomited a lot and then started crying," Schramski said. "That's a good sign."

Fire crews arrived about 11:45 a.m. and took over. The boy, who authorities said is visiting with his family from Russia, was taken to an area hospital and is reportedly in stable condition.

St. Pete Beach Fire Marshal Ernie Hand said the Fire Department would like to honor Schramski for his actions.

"That's what I call an everyday hero," Hand said. "It could've been ugly news … but it turned good. This happens to be one of those times and places where we had everything come together."

Schramski, who is visiting the area for a friend's wedding, called the experience amazing.

"It's still sinking in," Schramski said. "It gives me goose bumps every time I think about it."

Visiting doctor rescues boy from drowning off St. Pete Beach 06/04/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 4, 2010 11:25pm]

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