[Spencer Daily Reporter nameplate] Partly Cloudy ~ 66°F  
High: 71°F ~ Low: 39°F
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

6-year-old pool patron still in critical condition

Friday, June 8, 2012

Spencer Family YMCA employee Megan Whittaker recalls the details of Wednesday's near drowning at Spencer Aquatic Center to YMCA Executive Director Becky LaBarre and Parks Director Delray Bredehoeft, while Spencer Police Chief interviews a lifeguard at the scene. The 6-year-old boy involved was airlifted to a Sioux Falls airport and remained in critical condition as of press time.
(Photo by Randy M. Cauthron)
Lawson credits lifeguards, bystanders for quick action

A 6-year-old Spencer boy remained in critical condition Thursday at a Sioux Falls hospital, following a near drowning Wednesday afternoon at the Spencer Aquatic Center.

Spencer Police Chief Mark Lawson explained that the boy, whose name is not being released by the family, was unresponsive when another patron found him floating on the water.

Water is still at the Spencer Aquatic Center Wednesday afternoon, following the near drowning of a 6-year-old Spencer boy. Spencer Family YMCA officials, who are in charge of staffing the facility, hope to have it operational by Flagfest, pending approval by Iowa Department of Public Health officials.
(Photo by Randy M. Cauthron)
"This bystander turned around and, once he touched him, he knew there was a problem," Lawson said. "He took him to the side of the pool and emergency procedures kicked in. The pool staff and a nurse there with her child all jumped in."

Lawson credited those individuals for their quick response.

"It's because of the action of the staff that this kid is still alive," Lawson said.

The investigation into the incident was nearing completion Thursday afternoon, and indicated no foul play or rough housing had been involved.

"The child was trying to swim with another child," Lawson said. "That child could swim, but this one could not. When that child noticed, he went to get help. In that short period of time, the child lost consciousness."

That amount of time was estimated at 30 seconds and the incident occurred in a heavily populated portion of the pool, Lawson noted.

"It's unfortunate this young child got into water over his head, panicked and, in a short period of time, became compromised and unresponsive," Lawson said.

Spencer Family YMCA Executive Director Becky LaBarre said she hoped to have a meeting with Iowa Department of Public Health representatives Friday, with the goal of re-opening the facility for the Flagfest weekend, including a free swim day.

"They have to check over the facility to make sure it's operating properly," LaBarre said Thursday afternoon. "Once we meet with the Department of Public Health, which we are optimistic we can meet with them tomorrow, we can make a plan then. We hope we can have the facility up and running by Flagfest. We'll know more Friday afternoon."