7-Year-Old Drowns After 911 Operator Dials Wrong Number for Ambulance

swimming poolWhat should have been a fun day at the community pool turned into an unimaginable family tragedy. A 7-year-old girl was pulled from the bottom of a public pool in Missouri, but some say her death could have been prevented if it weren't for an inept 911 operator.

Reportedly, the 911 dispatcher handling the call about little Kaitlynn Breann Garcia bungled up quite badly. He did not know where the pool was located and wasted four minutes dialing wrong numbers for the emergency response team. The dispatcher was heard saying, "Yes. Is this Jay? Yea, I'm sorry. I've got the wrong number." Unbelievable.

The witness who made the frenzied call was horrified as the minutes slipped by and little Kaitlynn's life slipped away. As her pleas grew more frantic, the dispatcher replied, "I, I, I'm trying to get a hold of an ambulance as best -- trying to do the best, trying to do the best I can." Totally unacceptable. This person clearly should not have been allowed to man the phones if he was incapable of getting callers the help they need.

Though sadly, this is just the latest example of seemingly incompetent 911 operators. Earlier this month, there were reports that a dispatcher in Dallas, Texas was fired for making racist remarks on her Facebook page. She called black people "animals" and said they had "sh** for brains." She also ranted that they wasted her time calling 911. And just think, this is the attitude of the person you call when you are in desperate need of police or medical help.

Then there was the operator who took the call from kidnap victim Amanda Berry. This poor girl had been beaten, raped, and chained up in a house for 10 years and this guy allegedly cursed under his breath at her. He didn't even stay on the line with her as she waited for the cops to come to secure her safety from the monster who had tortured and imprisoned her.

It's shameful and frightening. More so than most other public service jobs, 911 dispatchers needs to be patient and compassionate. People don't call them when they are calm and rational. They are hearing people at their most horrified and desperate moments. Is it too much to ask that they be sympathetic and actually know how to get someone the help that they need? If they can't do the job, then they should be fired.

What do you think of these three 911 operators?


Image via Kevin Krecji/Flickr

accidents, death


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LostS... LostSoul88

her death could have been prevented if someone would have been watching her! don't blame the 911 operator. Her death could have been prevented if some people would tald take the 2 hour $25 cpr coarse!

LostS... LostSoul88

oh you said he didn't know where the pool was, then maybe the fucking caller should have known that!

AniAngel AniAngel

How about you read the link before you spout off lost soul? CPR was given. Public pools are dangerous and busy, even the best guardian can loose track of a child long enough for them to be in trouble. Plus the operator was unacceptably uneducated to do his very important job. 

nonmember avatar shannon

It's a sad situation all around. While the operator did fumble around I don't think all blame can be placed on him. I'm sure he, along with everyone else involved, feels absolutely terrible about her death. He's probably blaming himself night and day and now has others blaming him too.

I had an instance once where I called 911 after coming up on a pretty ugly single car accident. The man had been thrown from his vehicle and was flagging down traffic but was disoriented since he had been knocked unconscious in the accident. It took them 20 minutes to find us and it wasn't even someone who belonged to that jurisdiction that did. It was a city officer that overheard the calls and decided to check the other major road on the off chance that the dispatcher was sending help to the wrong place. The dispatcher called me back three times because they were sending the people to the wrong street.

Sadly, mistakes happen. Everyone is human. This little girl lost her life because of it. But to place the blame solely on one person's shoulders in this instance is not going to bring her back and will only bring this poor fellow down even more.

cmjaz cmjaz

I disagree wholeheartedly with this entire article

Brain... BrainyMommy

The 911 operator was inept and should be fired for that alone. I do not, however, believe his ineptitude caused the tragic death.

The racist 911 operator got exactly what she deserved.

The 911 operator who took Ms. Berry's call should be fired for ineptitude. 

youth... youthfulsoul

I think it's another wake up call that these 911 dispatchers countrywide need to be retrained in their duties and perhaps undergo sensitivity training as well.


worms... wormspoop

Anyone else notice that in the main article it says Missouri in the title but Oklahoma in the second paragraph, where it actually happened, not Missouri. Sounds like no one knows where this damn place is. Oh and yeah what a dumb ass dispatcher. 

crick... cricketmk3

I´m not sure how an EMT was going to save this girl if she had been in the water long enough to lose consiousness. If the ambulance had arrived at lightening speed, say 5 minutes, the child would still have been without a breath for at least 10 minutes. Would a lifeguard not know CPR? Don´t blame the dispatcher. This is a tragedy and I´m sure everyone involved would do anything to erase it.

nonmember avatar myopinion5

I think the girl still would have died. I am not saying it's ok for the operator to be unprepared but if they were already giving her CPR does 4 minutes really matter?

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