Boy just passed swim test before sinking in pool

11-year-old remains in critical condition

July 16, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

An 11-year-old Essex boy remained in critical condition yesterday at the pediatric unit of Johns Hopkins Children's Center after nearly drowning in a swimming pool at the Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation in Harford County.

It remained unclear yesterday why David Amrhein of the 100 block of N. Marlyn Ave. slipped back into the water and sank to the bottom as he was climbing out of the pool Sunday afternoon, camp officials said. He had just finished a swimming test - one lap across the 75-foot-by-30-foot pool, said Reed L. Blom, camp director.

Amrhein had passed the test and qualified as a "beginner" swimmer, meaning he would have been able to swim in the 3 1/2 -foot water, Blom said.

"We're not sure why he slipped back in," said Blom, who added that the pool was open yesterday after county health officials inspected the facility.

Amrhein was rescued from the water by several lifeguards, but had no pulse. Camp staff administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation; when Harford County sheriff's deputies arrived, they used a defibrillator to revive the boy's heart.

A team of trauma counselors from the sheriff's department met yesterday with staff and about 40 Scouts attending a weeklong camp at the 2,000-acre reservation near Whiteford.

"Their advice was to keep as normal schedule as possible," Blom said. "That's what we're trying to do. ... We're all praying for a positive result."

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