The uncle of an autistic boy who snuck over a fence to his neighbour's pool has spoken of hauling him out of the water and performing CPR as those around screamed and panicked.
"I just had to get in there, get him out," Ian told the Herald at his Hatfields Beach home, north of Auckland.
His nephew Conner, 4, was blue-lipped and unresponsive when he found him floating face up in the pool today, but is now in hospital laughing and joking with his mother.
Ian, who asked that the family's last name not be used, said Conner was with his mother and sisters visiting family from their home in Taumarunui.
He and the other adults had been helping to unpack his brother David's car at the front of the house on Hibiscus Coast Highway when he saw his niece, Conner's sister, crying.
"She said 'Conner's missing, I can't find him'."
Ian said he knew straight away to head for the pool in his neighbour's garden, which joins his.
Conner can't talk due to his autism but loves shiny things and any kind of water.
Ian had earlier tried to block his nephew from being able to access the pool by putting a makeshift fence at ground level in front of the end of the garden.
But Conner had managed to haul himself up a step further along where the ground sloped away.
The neighbour's pool wasn't fenced and Conner either fell or jumped in.
"He was face-up, blue lips, so I jumped in," Ian said.
"I just had to get in there, get him out."
Struggling to haul Conner over the side of the curved pool, Ian brought him over to the steps and began doing CPR.
Someone called 111 and the emergency responder helped Ian and David with CPR over the phone.
As his uncles performed CPR, Conner's mother was beside herself, crying and screaming Ian said.
Just before emergency services arrived Conner started responding, coughing up water after three minutes of CPR.
That's when they finally felt some relief he might be OK, David said.
Now the intelligent, curious little boy was in hospital playing on his mum's iPhone, smiling and giggling with her.
"It's good news, it turned out awesome," David said.
David said he hoped their family's story reminded people how quickly kids could get into trouble around water.
"It all happened in two or three minutes it was so fast."
Conner was taken to Starship hospital in a serious condition but the family has been told he's recovering and may be home soon.
A police spokeswoman was unable to confirm today whether police would investigate the incident, but said it was highly unlikely they wouldn't.
On January 1 new rules will be put in place governing pool fencing.
All pools must still have a complying barrier which will be checked every three years.
Auckland Council was this afternoon at the house taking measurements around the pool.
The staff member at the house said he was unable to comment to media.
Today's near drowning comes almost a week after a 4-year-old boy was found unresponsive in a pool in the east Auckland suburb of Beachlands.