Witnesses describe toddler's near-drowning at Augusta Mall - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Witnesses describe toddler's near-drowning at Augusta Mall

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

One day after a 2-year-old's near drowning in the indoor fountain at the Augusta Mall, the fountain has been shut down and security stands guard around the area. Deputies said Alayna Ishmael was playing in a children's play area when her mother said she disappeared.

"She asked me and my coworker, 'Have you seen a 2-year-old come by here?' said Ashley Henderson, who was at the mall during the incident. "Me and my coworker turned and looked at each other, and were like, 'No, we didn't see anything.'"

That's when they all heard a loud scream.

"They were pulling the girl out on the stretcher, and she didn't look like she was breathing, or moving. She looked like she was already gone," said Robert Rush, he was working at the mall when the incident happened.

Witnesses said a woman was kneeling over Ishmael performing CPR.

"What appeared to be a nursing outfit, like a student, was working on the poor little girl, trying to get her to spit up and come back," Rush said. "And they worked and worked and worked and then they took her away, and she came back in the EMT with the paramedics in the ambulance."

The girl was rushed to the hospital.

Witnesses were shocked something like this could happen in the mall.

"There's usually kids around the fountain, but they're never really like, trying to get into the water," Henderson said.

"I just hope it doesn't happen again in the future; that steps can be taken to prevent it." Rush said. He said he doesn't think this was the mall's fault in any way. "I've been praying for her non-stop. I'm sure a lot of people here have."

Those sentiments are shared by officials managing the mall. The general manager said their thoughts and prayers are with the family, and hopes the little girl makes a full recovery.

Ishmael remains in critical, but stable condition. No charges will be filed in this incident.

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