Boy’s family wishes to grieve privately after pool incident

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The water and grounds at the Charles Wacouta Aquatic Park were still and quiet Thursday after lifeguards discovered and pulled an unconscious 4-year-old boy from the pool. Staff hoped the pool would re-open Monday, Aug. 7. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

 

A 4-year-old boy pulled from the Prairie du Chien public swimming pool unconscious Wednesday night, Aug. 2, died Friday at a La Crosse hospital, according to local officials.

Authorities have not released the boy’s name. A family friend who contacted the Courier Press recognized that most of the community knew the boy’s name and that plenty of circumstantial speculation has since spread on social media. However, she requested the public heed the family’s wishes to grieve privately. 

“They’re going through hell right now,” she said.

Prairie du Chien Police Chief Chad Abram said the police department continues seeking facts about the scenario. 

“We’re talking to the lifeguards and other people who were there, trying to gather the facts of what happened,” he said, “because the parents of the child are going to want to know and the city’s going to want to learn from this.”

Initially, the investigation shows that the boy was taken from the pool just before 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, during swimming lessons. Abram said a couple of lifeguards and an off-duty doctor pulled the boy from the water and performed CPR. 

After the call was made to Crawford County Communications, “[police officers] were on scene within two to three minutes, followed by Tri-State (emergency medical technicians),” Abram noted.

The boy was taken to Crossing Rivers Health and then immediately medflighted to La Crosse. 

“The main thing people can do right now is pray,” Abram added.

Abram said the investigation will continue today (Monday) and Tuesday, once witnesses have had time to debrief. 

School district grief counselors and local clergy met with pool employees, their families and community members at city hall Thursday and Friday.

“Honestly, they’re all still in shock. [Our lifeguards] are kids themselves,” Abram said. 

The Charles Wacouta Aquatic Park was closed through the weekend. Staff announced it would reopen Monday, Aug. 7.

Anyone with questions regarding the facilities or lessons is asked to contact city hall at 326-6406.

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