According to Southold Town police, a call came in Thursday at 2:04 p.m. about CPR in progress on a boy, 6, who had reportedly drowned in the pool at the resort.
Liegey, a Southold resident, had started CPR on the child and was able to help him to begin breathing again, officials said.
When the child was transported to Eastern Long Island Hospital by emergency personnel, he was breathing and conscious, police said.
On Friday, Liegey, who has worked for a lifeguard for three summers, with the past being his first at the Cliffside Condominiums, described how he saved the child from tragedy.
"I can't put it into words," Liegey said. "It happened very fast."
One minute, the child, who'd been swimming with family in the pool for most of the day, suddenly wasn't breathing.
Of those that were with the child, Liegey said, "It took them by surprise. The gentleman with him went to the child and said his name and he didn't respond. At first, they thought he was joking. It was a shock to them."
Quick action on all parts led to a happy ending, Liegey said.
"As soon as he lifted the boy up, by the time I ran over, he was just coming to the edge of the pool and handed him to me," he said.
Although the details of how the child almost drowned are unclear, Liegey speculates that perhaps he inhaled water. "He was never in distress while swimming. It was a quick thing. But his lungs were full of water."
The boy, Liegey said, was unconscious. "His chest was not moving, there were no breaths, and I was unable to find a pulse," he said.
Liegey immediately began a first round of CPR. "When you're in that situation, you're really not thinking of anything else," he said. "I wasn't scared during that first round of CPR, but when he didn't resuscitate at first, I had a slight fear sink in. Then I did a second round of resuscitation, a second round of compressions, and he had a sudden movement in his chest. He opened his eyes, gasped and coughed up water."
Liegey said bringing the boy back was a feeling for which there are no words. "I can't describe the moment. It was incredible."
While he has rescued swimmers before, Liegey said he has never resuscitated anyone before Thursday.
"When he first came to, he was disoriented. I was looking right into his eyes, and saying his name. I said, 'Come on, buddy, grab my hand.' He squeezed my hand and progressed to moaning and eventually, began breathing on his own and crying. It was a great sign that he was crying."
Greenport EMTS arrived, with a paramedic on the scene in minutes, Liegey said.
The whole rescue happened in a heartbeat, he added. "It was less than two minutes between the time I started working on him to his breathing on his own, maybe 90 seconds."
Had the situation been different, and Liegey not immediately been there to help, the outcome could have been tragic.
"I'm so happy that it worked out the way it did," he said.
Liegey, a Southold High School graduate, said his family, including father Michael and sisters Caroline and Juliette, were proud of his actions.
"They were happy," he said.
Saving others is a calling for Liegey, who hopes to pursue emergency medicine in the future. Currently a student at Suffolk Community College, he said rescuing others is a goal.
His family, Liegey said, works together on the volunteer ski patrol in Wyndham, New York, where he is an emergency responder; his father, Michael, Sr., is a member of the Southold Fire Department.
"I'm really just overwhelmed," Liegey said. "I couldn't be happier that the little boy is fine."
Liegey said the family called from the hospital Thursday night to say that the child was conscious and in stable condition.
Hotel management commended Liegey's actions. "The safety of our guests is top priority here at The Cliffside Resort. We commend our entire staff for perfectly executing our emergency response plan and wish the young boy a speedy recovery," said Thomas Herrmann, general manager.