Christian Robles, 12, dies when canoe flips in Harvard pond

Christian Daniel Robles, 12
July 9, 2013 3:35:52 PM PDT
The McHenry County coroner says a 12-year-old boy died after his canoe capsized in a pond in the northern Illinois community of Harvard.

Anne Majewski says in a statement that three boys were in the boat when it tipped over Monday evening in a stormwater retention pond.

The Northwest Herald says one boy swam to shore and a second was rescued from the water that was about 15 to 20 feet deep. The third boy was pulled from the water about 125 feet from shore and pronounced dead at Mercy Harvard Hospital.

So far, authorities haven't released any names and an autopsy is scheduled to take place Tuesday. But family members have identified the boy to ABC7 as Christian Robles. The family said the boy took his uncle's canoe out without permission.

Harvard is about 60 miles northwest of Chicago.

Calls for help alerted an uncle of the boy, who attempted to rescue him as he flailed in the water, the coroner said, but he subsequently went under. Multiple fire and rescue units were called to assist.

A dive team found the boy's body in 15-20 feet of water, about 125 feet from shore about 8:30 p.m., according to the coroner. They immediately began efforts to resuscitate him, and he was taken to Harvard Mercy Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:46 p.m.

"He's scared of the water," said Luis Robles, victim's uncle.

Still grieving and in shock, Luis Robles retrieved his canoe from the water Tuesday morning, along with his nephew's baseball cap.

"When I come back home I did not see the canoe, and I asked my daughter. And she said, 'Oh those guys take it to the water," said Luis Robles.

Christian Daniel Robles could not swim and was not one to go near the water. But according to his uncle, his son and nephew, along with another boy took his canoe without permission to go fishing in a Harvard retention pond.

"We saw two kids, one was swimming to shore and one was flailing about halfway into the pond," said neighbor Tyler Kurth.

Kurth jumped into the water, while his girlfriend called 911.

"I swam in toward the kid who was in the middle of the pond, and he jumped on my back and we swam back to shore, and he said there is another kid still in the water. I went back out but never saw him," Kurth said.

First responders were on the scene shortly after, but were unable to locate the boy in time to save him

"Once our ambulance arrived, three of our firefighters went in the water to try and do an immediate recovery, but it was too deep for us at that time," said Battalion Chief Don Davidson.

Today, his family remembered Christian as a shy boy who loved horses and participating in Mexican rodeo competitions. He was about to start the seventh grade.

The Associated Press and Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.


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