Boy, 14, drowns at McKinley Park District pool

Boy, 14, drowns at McKinley Park District pool

August 10, 2013 4:06:16 AM PDT
A man who says he first spotted a 14-year-old boy and pulled him from a Chicago Park District pool questions the response by the lifeguard on duty. The boy later died at a local hospital.

The boy's relatives said he was at the pool Friday afternoon with a couple of friends and that he may have hit his head on the bottom of the pool.

Friday night, the man who said he pulled the teen from the water said the boy was floating on the surface for several minutes, near feet from a lifeguard.

"We just want to know what the lifeguards were doing, where were their posts, why didn't they start CPR, why didn't they pump on him," said Sherry Hedge, the victim's aunt.

It happened around 2:40 p.m. at the pool at McKinley Park.

Alex Cervantes, who didn't know Bowen, says he helped pull the 14-year-old from the water after seeing him floating face down for at least three minutes on the surface.

Initially Cervantes thought Bowen was merely relaxing or looking for his goggles.

"I looked into the water. Blood was coming out his nose. At that moment, I already knew something was wrong," Cervantes said. "I jumped in, picked him up by one arm, holding onto the ledge because he was right there underneath the lifeguard."

Cervantes says that lifeguard never entered the water and after Cervantes pulled Bowen from the pool, the lifeguard did not perform CPR.

"He said, 'No, because he's bleeding,'" Cervantes said. "We told him can you at least pump his chest. Because it looked like he wanted to come back or spit out the water. But he kept saying, 'I can't do nothing. I can't do nothing.'"

Bowen would later die at Mount Sinai Hospital.

In a statement, a Chicago Park District spokesperson said: "The loss of this young life is a tragedy. The Chicago Park District is investigating the circumstances behind this incident."

"They didn't do enough," said Cervantes. "I don't believe they did enough."

"He was always at McKinley Park either at the pond or in the pool swimming with the kids, a typical 14-year-old neighborhood kid," Hedge said.

Other than the statement they released, Park District officials could not offer any details about the incident, which they say they are investigating.

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