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Thursday, October 19 Police Reports

New Canaan boy fighting for life after nearly drowning at Chelsea Piers in Stamford

STAMFORD — A typical day at summer camp took a dramatic turn when a 5-year-old New Canaan boy nearly drowned Thursday in a Chelsea Piers pool.

Lifeguards pulled the child from the pool after police say he was underwater for about three minutes. The child was taken to Stamford Hospital where he remained for several hours suffering seizures. He was flown late Thursday afternoon to Yale-New Haven’s Children’s Hospital where he remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

“The problem is the child may have been underwater for too long and there could be brain issues,” Stamford Police Capt. Richard Conklin said.

The child was unconscious but breathing when medics arrived at Chelsea Piers about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Conklin said medics were able to raise the boy’s pulse before taking him to the hospital.

Details about how the child ended up submerged were not immediately released.

The incident occurred in Chelsea Piers’ popular 6,000-square-foot Splash Zone, which consists of three pools with slides and other children’s activities.

Sgt. Chris DiCarlo said the boy was participating in a Chelsea Piers soccer camp that went to the Splash Zone during a break on Thursday. DiCarlo said there were between 20 and 30 children in the Splash Zone when the incident occurred.

The child was found in what is referred to on the Chelsea Piers website as the warm water exercise pool, which is about 35 feet long by 22 feet wide. It’s depth ranges from 2 feet, 6 inches to 4 feet.

“This afternoon, our lifeguards pulled a distressed swimmer out of the small pool,” Erica Bates, spokeswoman for Chelsea Piers, said in an emailed statement. “Our staff performed CPR until the EMTs arrived. Our principal concern is for the young boy's health. Our thoughts are with him and his family.”

Patrol Lt. Diedrich Hohn, who responded to the scene, could not comment about the incident.

"It's an unfortunate accident that is under investigation at this point,” he said.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the boy was 7 years old and that he had already been flown to New Haven.

Jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com;

John Nickerson|Police and court reporter

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