April 22nd, 2009

Squomples!

Teen Drowning -- What Is It Like?

Hi All,
I'm writing a story that takes place in the U.S. Here's my question:
A twelve-year-old boy is drowning, and an eighteen-year-old girl is trying to save him. Both are strong swimmers, but the twelve-year-old is mentally disabled and the eighteen-year-old neglects to grab him from behind. They struggle, with the twelve-year-old boy unintentionally dragging the eighteen-year-old girl beneath the surface. Eventually, outside help are able to grab the twelve-year-old and haul him to shore. He still needs to be conscious and ultimately unhurt for my plot to unfold right, although obviously, he would be hospitalized.
The outside help then go after the girl, but I need her to either be dead when she's pulled from the water, or to ultimately die in the hospital.
The Question: What can expected reactions for both teens be? Vomiting up water? Unresponsiveness? Blue faces? How about in the water? How long do people tend to thrash and struggle before the water starts to flood their lungs and their throats close? Is it realistic to expect one teen to survive unscathed and the other to die (I think so, because one is rescued first, and he's the survivor, but still)? Any other information would be great, too.
Things I have tried: The WikiPedia article on "Drowning" (I read it all the way through), Google searches: "Drowning", "Teen drownings", "Results of Drowning", et cetera. I've found a lot about prevention, statistics, key terms, and mechanics, but not a lot about what it would look like or how people are expected to act.
Thank you in advance!
-- Caitlin