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George Gohns and Alex Sharman, both 12, were swimming with friends at YMCA Panmure on Wednesday afternoon when they noticed the young boy "fully submerged in water' nearby.
At first the friends thought the boy was just "joking around" but decided to investigate when he didn't move.
George, who goes to Beachlands School, told the Herald the boy's eyes were wide open and that he was not moving, just drifting under the surface. Still unsure if he was joking they reached out to him.
"We poked his throat to see if there was anything there and then bubbles came out," George said.
The pair - both Scouts - grabbed the young boy, holding him above the water and tilting his head so he would not choke.
The boys dragged the child to the edge of the pool, where an alerted lifeguard jumped in and pulled him out of the water.
Grant Helleur, YMCA business manager for fitness and recreation, said the lifeguard spoke to the boy on the side of the pool where he started responding.
St John quickly arrived to treat the boy, who was transferred to Starship hospital in a moderate condition.
Despite being proud of his efforts, George said the ordeal scared him.
"My legs shook a bit after and then I didn't go in for a swim for like half-an-hour," he said.
George's mum, Janice, said she was "really, really proud of them both".
She said George was "really freaked" by the incident.
"We live in Beachlands and normally they would go down swimming in the evening but George was like 'I think I've had enough of the water today'."
Mr Helleur also praised the boys for taking action. He said the 5-year-old's mother had also praised the lifeguards and the two boys. It is believed he had had a seizure.
- Ben Irwin