Phoenix lifeguards honored for saving man's life after car crash

A group of Phoenix lifeguards are being honored after saving a man's life - not at a pool, but down the street.

When a car crashed near a Phoenix public pool, these lifeguards immediately sprung into action.

They ran to the car - most of them barefoot - performed CPR, helped with a head wound, and used an emergency defibrillator, saving his life well before paramedics arrived.

"It took me a while to process that it actually happened," said lifeguard Natalie Stahl.

It started off as a normal shift for Stahl. She was in the deep end of a Deer Valley pool teaching a class when suddenly, she heard a loud crash from down the street.

Instinctively, she got out and started running barefoot, discovering that a car had struck a pole and a wall. Meanwhile, other lifeguards cleared everyone out of the pool.

"After we got there, he was still in his car," Stahl said. "There was a nurse that was driving behind him and the nurse, they were trying to get him out of the car."

After smelling leaking gas, they immediately helped pull the man out of the vehicle to safety. They say he wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse.

Officials say he had suffered a cardiac event.

"Five more ran over and they brought our AED," said Stahl. "Once we put the AED on him, we shocked him and us as lifeguards continued doing CPR on him for about 3 minutes until EMS arrived."

Meanwhile, other lifeguards were tending to his other injuries.

"I started getting gauze and applying pressure on a head wound that he had," said lifeguard Itzianahi Toyos.

Two days after the crash, the victim was able to overcome his wounds and breathe on his own. The nine lifeguards were presented with a Lifesaving Award this week.

"I never thought that maybe in my whole lifespan that I would ever have to help someone or the opportunity to help someone," said Toyos.

The city of Phoenix is looking to hire more heroic lifeguards like them. Learn more: