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Rescued woman tracks down lifeguard who saved her in 1964

NBC 4 New York

Eady Rothstein hopes to meet Larry Brickman, who was a 21-year-old lifeguard when he saved then 5-year-old Rothstein's life.

A woman who was rescued by a lifeguard when she nearly drowned in a pool as a 5-year-old has found her hero, almost 50 years after her brush with death.

Eady Rothstein, from Ramsey, N.J., was sitting on the edge of a pool at a club near Lido Beach on New York’s Long Island in 1964 when she suddenly slipped in.

"I can picture being underwater, screaming," recalled Rothstein. 

A young lifeguard jumped in and gave the little girl mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for several minutes. He persisted until she regained consciousness, saving her life. 

"I've always said I wanted to thank him, and I should do it," said Rothstein.

Larry Brickman, who now lives in Florida, was a 21-year-old medical student living in Long Beach for the summer, working as a lifeguard to pay for school. He knew CPR -- training that most lifeguards did not get back in the 1960s. 

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"If no one was there to do this, I'm afraid she would have succumbed," Brickman said from his Boca Raton office Wednesday. 

Rothstein and Brickman had only met in person that one fateful summer day. Recently, Rothstein came across an article detailing their encounter in a family scrapbook while moving to her new home in Ramsey. So she decided to track him down, and a simple Google search put them in touch.

"I got his phone number. I got his answering machine, and I left a message," said Rothstein. 

Brickman returned her call.

"My final words to her when I hung up that day, after I called her back, were, 'You know, I guess we just got very lucky, you and I both,'" said Brickman. 

Rothstein said after the trauma, her father made her get back in the water with swimming lessons. Now she regularly swims laps in the pool each summer.

An in-person reunion is in the works. For now, words on the phone will have to do. 

"I owe my life, and it's a very nice feeling to finally be able to say, 'Thank you,'" said Rothstein.