FROM PATCHES NEARBY: Teenage Boy Drowns At American Lake

Witnesses said lifeguards and visitors at Lakewood's Harry Todd Park jumped in to save the boy. They were unable to locate him.

A 13-year-old boy drowned at Harry Todd Park in Lakewood Thursday afternoon, according to authorities.

Dive crews searched about 45 minutes before  discovering the boy's body, said Jenny Sharp, West Pierce Fire & Rescue spokeswoman.

The teenager was swimming in the designated area before going under, Sharp said. On-duty lifeguards and park visitors dove into the lake and attempted to save him.

Witnesses said they heard the boy screaming help, flailing his arms.

"So many people jumped in the water," witness Arianna Swofford said. "But nobody could find him."

Local authorities were contacted at 4:37 p.m during a warm summer afternoon. Harry Todd Park is located in the Tillicum neighborhood and has beach access to American Lake. 

Witnesses say the boy's father was unsure of his son's whereabouts for the first 20 minutes.  Sharp said it took the dive team about 45 minutes to recover the boy's body.

Lakewood Police closed Harry Todd Park to the public pending further investigation. Check back later for an update.

Jackie Fender July 29, 2011 at 06:11 AM
According to KOMO when he was found he was unconscious but breathing still and passed away enroute to the hospital. Such a tragic loss> My condolences go out to the family and loved ones.
Eric & Kirsten Kuhnau July 29, 2011 at 03:43 PM
As a certified lifeguard (20+ years) & lifeguard instructor (10+ years) there is nothing more tragic then to hear of a drowning death that could have been prevented. Sorry Jackie but KOMO has it wrong, anyone under for the amount of time he was is not breathing, the firefighters were breathing for him until they could get him to the hospital to pronounce him dead. The human body stops "breathing" 30-60 sec. after submersion which is usually 30-60sec. on the surface. You begin to die in 1-2 min. of time, that's how quick this can happen. The lack of supervision by parents, friends and lifeguards on duty, who's job it is to watch and prevent events like this, failed.


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