Girl dies after fall in pond Teen under water for 20 minutes

February 09, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

One of two Taneytown teen-agers who fell through thin ice on a pond behind a rod and gun club on Stumptown Road died early today at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Elaine Freeman, spokeswoman for the hospital said Ratsmy Keosonbath, 14, died at 3:30 a.m. today at the pediatric intensive care unit from the effects of being under the water for at least 20 minutes.

The girl and her playmate, Gregory Haller, also 14, were pulled from the pond behind the Taneytown Rod and Gun Club shortly after 5 p.m. yesterday after falling through the half-inch thick ice about 50 feet from the shore.

The girl was rescued by members of the Taneytown Fire Department and flown to Johns Hopkins Hospital by a state police helicopter and was listed in critical condition before dying.

Young Haller was rescued by Scott Ruby, a friend who accompanied the victims to the pond.

He was taken by ambulance to the Carroll County General, where he was treated for hypothermia and released.

Taneytown police said the accident occurred about 5 p.m. when the three teens were playing around the 12-foot-deep pond. Young Haller and the girl walked out about 50 feet onto the half-inch-thick ice, leaving the Ruby youth on the shore.

When the ice broke, the Ruby youth ran to the girl's home nearby,called 911 and asked her 19-year-old brother for help. They ran back, and young Ruby went out onto the ice and rescued the Haller youth.

The girl had slipped from young Haller's grasp, police said.

"The boy had ahold of the girl, but he couldn't hold on to her," said Taneytown Fire Chief Jim Salley. "He was starting to lose it himself."

Taneytown fire and rescue crews arrived after Gregory Haller was brought to shore. Emergency crews, using a boat borrowed from a neighbor, rescued the girl.

"We got her out with some poles," Mr. Salley said. "We were lucky. We found her on the first try."

Neighbors gathered, trying to catch a glimpse of rescue workers struggling to revive the girl in the back of a Taneytown ambulance.

"Doesn't take much to get the whole town out, does it?" asked one passer-by as he ran to catch up with his scampering children.

Paramedics continued to administer CPR as they transferred the small, sheet-covered form to the waiting helicopter.

"I'm certainly hoping she pulls through," said Godfrey Miller, president of the Taneytown Rod and Gun Club. "It's certainly a tragedy, especially with a young child."

Emergency units from Gamber and Emmitsburg and the Carroll County Sheriff's Office also responded to the accident. Police said this was the first accident they've had at the pond.

The man-made pond, fed by natural springs and surrounded by "No Swimming, No Ice Skating" signs, has been a source of concern for the gun club for some time, said Mr. Miller.

The club sold the property to the city last fall, but will continue to occupy it until October, he said.

"We knew it was a problem, with all the building down the road and the people moving in," Mr. Miller said, gesturing toward new houses.

Members sought to drain the pond, but the Environmental Protection Agency wouldn't allow it, Mr. Miller said. Fencing was not considered because the club allows city residents to fish on the property.

"It was undetermined what we were going to do," he said.

Club officers sold the property because it was no longer safe to operate their shooting range, Mr. Miller said.

"The kids would walk on, right up behind us with no idea of the danger they were in . . . ."

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