The Korea Herald


Police traces distress call in 6 minutes, saves girl from choking

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : March 20, 2024 - 15:21

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Police performing CPR on a girl (Seoul Seongbuk Police Station) Police performing CPR on a girl (Seoul Seongbuk Police Station)

In a swift, life-saving operation that was made public Wednesday, police in Seoul’s Seongbu District last week traced an emergency phone call in just 6 minutes and saved a girl from choking. The call lasted just 25 seconds, with only the sound of sobbing heard.

On March 14, officers dispatched to a house in Anam-dong identified as the origin of the call found a 4-year-old girl lying unconscious after her neck became caught in the cord of a window blind. They performed CPR and after about 10 minutes, the girl regained consciousness.

The Seoul Seongbuk Police Station accredited the swift rescue to the astute judgement of the 112 emergency call handlers. The call was terminated without the caller responding to any of the call handler's questions to ascertain her situation.

Despite the absence of information, the control center assessed the situation as a critical emergency, issuing a “code zero” to indicate the highest level of urgency.

They then monitored surveillance footage of the residential area in Anam-dong, where the call came from. Within six minutes, they spotted the silhouette of a woman moving hurriedly across the window of a house and promptly relayed the address to officers in the field.

When the police arrived at the house, they found the girl with her distressed mom. The 119 emergency rescuers later arrived at the scene, following a report from a neighbor who heard the cries.

The investigation explained that the mother attempted to call 119 for emergency rescue of her daughter but mistakenly dialed 112. Realizing the error, she became confused and hung up the phone.