Police Save 8-Year-Old Boy with LifeVac

EL MONTE, Calif. (KABC) — El Monte police were able to rescue an 8-year-old boy who was choking and had been unable to breathe for several minutes after eating a piece of candy.

Authorities released a dramatic bodycam video of the incident involving 8-year-old Ethan Becerra.


The incident happened Monday at about 8 p.m. Police responded to an emergency call from the mother who said her son was simply not breathing as neighbors attempted to dislodge the piece of candy from his throat.

“I just get a knock on the door from his friends saying that he was choking, but I never expected to be, you know, him being purple by the time I got there,” said the young boy’s mother, Vanessa Becerra. “He was purple already. Unresponsive. The neighbors were already trying to do compressions on him, everything, and nothing seemed to be working. So at one point when I heard one of the dads say that he wasn’t breathing anymore, I lost it.”

The first officer on the scene, Raul Vega, took over life-saving measures. More officers and paramedics arrived a short time later. Vega and his partner were able to dislodge the piece of candy using an anti-choking device called LifeVac.

“Picked him up and I put him over my shoulder and that’s when I ran back towards my patrol car ’cause I knew that’s where the LifeVac was at. Laid him down on the ground and was able to hold his head up,” said Officer Vega. “My other partner… had arrived on scene and had the LifeVac and handed it to me and we opened it up, and that’s when I was able to put it on Ethan and use it to clear his airway.”

The boy was taken to the hospital to be checked out. He has since recovered. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, Ethan said he wanted to be a police officer.

The LifeVac acts like a plunger and uses suction to clear an airway and remove foreign objects from choking victims when methods like the Heimlich maneuver don’t work. The rescue suction device is available to the public.