The two paramedics who responded to the near-drowning of a 17-year-old Chinese student at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre in Saint John in 2011 say they tried their best to resuscitate him, but they couldn't get his heart to beat.

Mark Hines and George Scott testified Wednesday at the coroner's inquest into the subsequent death of Yifan (Jason) Wang.

They said they were called to the pool at 3:37 p.m. on Sept. 18 and after pulling a U-turn on the Harbour Bridge, arrived at the scene within two minutes.

Wang had been pulled from the water by lifeguards minutes earlier after going down the three-metre slide.

"I had a very poor impression of the patient," Scott told the jury.


Yifan (Jason) Wang died two days after being pulled from the pool unresponsive in 2011. (Courtesy of Brenan's Funeral Home)

Wang was not breathing, had no pulse and no colour, he said.

They started CPR at 3:42 p.m. and continued all the way to the Saint John Regional Hospital, but never got a heartbeat. ER staff then administered adrenaline and managed to get a pulse.

Scott, who is an advanced paramedic, noted that if the case had occurred in Nova Scotia, where the rules are different, he would have been able to administer adrenaline sooner.

But he would not speculate on whether that would have changed the outcome.

Wang, who had recently moved to Saint John as an international student, was pronounced dead two days later from injuries he sustained.

Pool has made changes

The jury also heard from the Aquatic Centre's general manager Karen Irwin, who said staff conducted an internal assessment of policies and procedures following the incident and have implemented some changes.

They have increased training and skills testing for lifeguards, and staff are more readily identifiable with clear logos on their shirts, said Irwin.

They have also added a portable defibrillator to the first aid room, she said.

In addition, they have applied to the city for money to buy a new video surveillance camera for the deep end of the pool and are calling for a provincial set of standards to be applied to all public pools.

But when questioned by Crown prosecutor Chris Titus about the idea of adding more lifeguards, Irwin did not appear receptive.

"Is it a money issue?" asked Titus.

"No," she replied.

"Could it hurt?" he asked.

"No," she said.

But she said she didn't think more lifeguards would have made a difference in this case.

"I believe the bar is set quite high."

The coroner's inquest is meant to determine the facts surrounding Wang's death and to make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths.

The inquest is scheduled to continue Thursday with testimony from the pathologist who conducted the autopsy, Dr. Marek Godlewski, the intensive care specialist who treated Wang at the hospital, Dr. John Mowatt, and two experts in swimming safety from the Red Cross and the Lifesaving Society.