Teen Likely Brain Dead from Near-Drowning in Public Pool; Family Questions Lifeguards' Actions
Anandre Thomas, a 17-year-old who nearly drowned on Sunday in a public swimming pool, is on life support and likely brain dead, his family told KCAL9.
The incident happened Sunday afternoon at a pool in the county-owned Jesse Owens Community Regional Park east of Inglewood. Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a 911 call at 4:10 p.m. and sent paramedics to the scene at 9835 S. Western Ave., said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the fire department.
Prior to the arrival of the fire department, the boy was pulled out of the pool by on-duty lifeguards and received CPR.
He was in "grave condition," according to Humphrey, and was later rushed to Centinela Hospital.
At the time of the incident, four lifeguards were on duty, and about 100 people were swimming in the pool, said Andre Herndon, spokesman for the L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation. The pool, which has a capacity of 250 people, is open all year.
The family blames the lifeguards on duty.
The victim's sister, Ceritha Daily, explained what happened in an interview with KCAL9: Daily said she saw Anandre jump into the pool, then turned to watch her other brother leap off a diving board. It was only later that she saw him at the bottom of the pool, according to KCAL9 anchor Brittney Hoppper. When she alerted the lifeguards, they pulled him out, began CPR and called for help.
She added Anandre had been swimming in the pool for years.
The victim's uncle Tremon Thomas said in an interview with KCAL9:
"No adult or child should be under the water for five minutes or more or less with a lifeguard's presence at the time. To me that is more than enough proof that somebody wasn't doing their job."
The L. A. County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident. No further details are available for the moment.
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation issued a statement Thursday, which in part, says:
We are saddened to learn of the young man's condition, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
Investigation is moving forward with full respect for the privacy of the young man and his family, and deference to the integrity of the investigative process.