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Child dies after going under at North Bend Park

SoVaNow.com / August 27, 2014
A 4-year-old local boy who was pulled unconscious from the lake near North Bend Park on Sunday succumbed to his injuries Tuesday, Aug. 26 around 3:30 p.m.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Bobby Hawkins said that when police arrived at the scene around noon on Sunday, family members and the park rangers were already administering CPR. USACE Project Manager Michael Womack said the rangers also deployed an automated external defibrillator.

Womack confirmed the boy was alive when Boydton Life Station members transported him to VCU Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill. From there, the child was taken to VCU in Richmond where he later died.

The victim was at the park with his family and a larger church group that were camping at North Bend. At the time of the drowning, they were at a designated swim area.

This is the second drowning on Buggs Island Lake this year, and the first in Virginia. A Louisburg, N.C. man, Demetrius Cannady, drowned in the North Carolina portion of the lake, near Satterwhite Point, in late July. Like the victim in Sunday’s drowning, Cannady was at a designated swim area at the time.

After each incident, Womack said rangers review the scene and their practices to see if there is something they could have done better or differently. Most drownings, according to Womack, are preventable. He and his team are always looking for new and better ways to prevent these tragedies.

A few of the steps the rangers and the USACE already have taken to promote water safety in and around the lake include encouraging the use of life jackets by installing loaner life jackets stations at each designated swim site, positing water safety messages at the beaches with warnings written in Spanish and English and encouraging swimmers to always swim with a buddy.

The park rangers also receive annual training and certification in CPR and the use of the AED.

“Unfortunately, we average about one drowning each year,” said Womack.

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